Julie Decock

Julie Decock
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute · Cancer Research Center (CRC)

MSc, PhD

About

68
Publications
27,271
Reads
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1,870
Citations
Citations since 2017
33 Research Items
1257 Citations
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Introduction
My research program resides in the areas of tumor antigen discovery and tumor immunity, two key research areas that can help accelerate breast cancer research and advance the development of new treatments. Currently, my research focuses on cancer testis antigens, a group of tumor associated antigens that play pivotal roles in tumorigenesis and progression, and display high tumor specificity with minimal on- and off-target side effects. Her efforts have demonstrated that cancer testis antigen
Additional affiliations
April 2016 - May 2017
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute
Position
  • Researcher
April 2011 - October 2013
University of East Anglia
Position
  • Use of protease-nanoparticles in tumour targetting approach of pancreatic cancer
Description
  • proteases pancreatic cancer nanoparticles
April 2010 - March 2011
University of East Anglia
Position
  • the role of BRAF and MC1R in melanoma
Description
  • melanoma BRAF MC1R
Education
March 2003 - January 2008
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • proteases in cancer
September 1998 - July 2002

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
Full-text available
The cancer testis antigen (CTA) lactate dehydrogenase C (LDHC) is a promising anti‐cancer target with tumor‐specific expression and immunogenicity. Interrogation of breast cancer patient cohorts from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) indicate that upregulation of LDHC expressi...
Article
Full-text available
Immunotherapy has emerged as the fifth pillar of cancer treatment alongside surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are the current superheroes of immunotherapy, unleashing a patient’s own immune cells to kill tumors and revolutionizing cancer treatment in a variety of cancers. Although breast cancer...
Article
Full-text available
Breast cancer largely dominates the global cancer burden statistics; however, there are striking disparities in mortality rates across countries. While socioeconomic factors contribute to population-based differences in mortality, they do not fully explain disparity among women of African ancestry (AA) and Arab ancestry (ArA) compared to women of E...
Article
Full-text available
Lactate dehydrogenase C (LDHC) is an archetypical cancer testis antigen with limited expression in adult tissues and re-expression in tumors. This restricted expression pattern together with the important role of LDHC in cancer metabolism renders LDHC a potential target for immunotherapy. This study is the first to investigate the immunogenicity of...
Article
Full-text available
Background Advances in our understanding of the tumor microenvironment have radically changed the cancer field, highlighting the emerging need for biomarkers of an active, favorable tumor immune phenotype to aid treatment stratification and clinical prognostication. Numerous immune-related gene signatures have been defined; however, their prognosti...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 complications still present a huge burden on healthcare systems and warrant predictive risk models to triage patients and inform early intervention. Here, we profile 893 plasma proteins from 50 severe and 50 mild-moderate COVID-19 patients, and 50 healthy controls, and show that 375 proteins are differentially expressed in the plasma of se...
Preprint
Full-text available
The role of autoantibodies in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) complications is not yet fully understood. The current investigation screened two independent cohorts of 97 COVID-19 patients (Discovery (Disc) cohort from Qatar (n = 49) and Replication (Rep) cohort from New York (n = 48)) utilizing high-throughput KoRectly Expressed (KREX) immunome prot...
Article
Full-text available
PReferentially expressed Antigen in Melanoma (PRAME) is a cancer testis antigen with restricted expression in somatic tissues and re-expression in poor prognostic solid tumours. PRAME has been extensively investigated as a target for immunotherapy, however, its role in modulating the anti-tumour immune response remains largely unknown. Here, we sho...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are lucrative anti-cancer targets given their restricted expression patterns and known roles as mediators of cancer hallmarks, including cancer metabolism, proliferation, survival, and cell motility. Lactate dehydrogenase C (LDHC) is a CTA with upregulated expression in poor prognosis subtypes of breast canc...
Article
Full-text available
Higher eukaryotic development is a complex and tightly regulated process, whereby transcription factors (TFs) play a key role in controlling the gene regulatory networks. Dysregulation of these regulatory networks has also been associated with carcinogenesis. Transcription factors are key enablers of cancer stemness, which support the maintenance a...
Preprint
Full-text available
COVID-19 complications present a huge burden on healthcare systems and warrant a predictive risk model for disease severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection to enable early intervention, prospective decision-making and triaging of patients. We profiled plasma proteins from COVID-19 patients (severe n=50, and mild n=50) and controls (n=50) using function- an...
Preprint
Full-text available
The cancer testis antigen (CTA) lactate dehydrogenase C (LDHC) is a promising anti-cancer target with tumor-specific expression, immunogenicity and a role in metabolic reprogramming. Interrogation of the TCGA breast cancer cohort demonstrates upregulation of LDHC expression, conferring unfavorable prognosis. Although the role of LDHC is well charac...
Article
Full-text available
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer associated with poor prognosis, early recurrence, and the lack of durable chemotherapy responses and specific targeted treatments. The recent FDA approval for immune checkpoint inhibition in combination with nab-paclitaxel for the treatment of metastatic TNBC created opp...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) have gained interest in the field of anti-cancer therapy as they offer the opportunity to target tumor cells with little off/on-target side effects given their restricted expression patterns. Several CTAs have been implicated as mediators of cancer hallmarks including cancer metabolism, proliferation, surviv...
Article
Full-text available
Background An immune active cancer phenotype typified by a T helper 1 (Th-1) immune response has been associated with increased responsiveness to immunotherapy and favorable prognosis in some but not all cancer types. The reason of this differential prognostic connotation remains unknown. Methods To explore the contextual prognostic value of cance...
Conference Paper
Cancer immunotherapy, in particular immune checkpoint blockade, has shown great promise in the treatment of advanced cancer. However, response rates remain low and only a subset of patients experience clinical benefit. One of the major challenges remains the persistence of a specific anti-tumor immune response within an immunosuppressive tumor micr...
Article
Full-text available
Cancer immunotherapy has been heralded as a breakthrough cancer treatment demonstrating tremendous success in improving tumor responses and survival of patients with hematological cancers and solid tumors. This novel promising treatment approach has in particular triggered optimism for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) treatment, a subtype of br...
Article
Full-text available
PRAME or PReferentially expressed Antigen in Melanoma is a testis-selective cancer testis antigen (CTA) with restricted expression in somatic tissues and re-expression in various cancers. It is one of the most widely studied CTAs and has been associated with the outcome and risk of metastasis. Although little is known about its pathophysiological f...
Article
Interactions between immune checkpoints (ICs) and their ligands negatively regulate T cell activation pathways involved in physiological immune responses against specific antigens. ICs and their ligands are frequently upregulated in the tumor microenvironment (TME) of various malignancies, and they represent significant barriers for induction of ef...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background It is becoming clear that tumor immune T cell infiltration and its functional orientation have substantial effect on cancer progression, influencing both response to therapy and prognosis. In this pan-cancer study, the previously described Immunologic Constant of Rejection (ICR) signature is used to define opposing immune phenotypes (i.e...
Article
Full-text available
Background The triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) paradox marks a major challenge in the treatment-decision making process. TNBC patients generally respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared to other breast cancer patients; however, they have a substantial higher risk of disease recurrence. We evaluated the expression of the tumor-associ...
Article
Full-text available
NY-ESO-1 or New York esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 1 is a well-known cancer-testis antigen (CTAs) with re-expression in numerous cancer types. Its ability to elicit spontaneous humoral and cellular immune responses, together with its restricted expression pattern, have rendered it a good candidate target for cancer immunotherapy. In this revie...
Article
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The increased application of high-throughput approaches in translational research has expanded the number of publicly available data repositories. Gathering additional valuable information contained in the datasets represents a crucial opportunity in the biomedical field. To facilitate and stimulate utilization of these datasets, we have recently d...
Article
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With the advent of checkpoint inhibition, immunotherapy has revolutionized the clinical management of several cancers, but has demonstrated limited efficacy in mammary carcinoma. Transcriptomic profiling of cancer samples defined distinct immunophenotypic categories characterized by different prognostic and predictive connotations. In breast cancer...
Article
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The immune system has a substantial effect on colorectal cancer (CRC) progression. Additionally, the response to immunotherapeutics and conventional treatment options (e.g., chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies) is influenced by the immune system. The molecular characterization of colorectal cancer (CRC) has led to the identification o...
Article
Full-text available
Background Normal myoepithelial cells (MECs) play an important tumour-suppressor role in the breast but display an altered phenotype in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), gaining tumour-promoter functions. Matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) is expressed by normal MECs but is lost in DCIS. This study investigated the function of MMP-8 in MECs and the...
Article
Full-text available
Matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8; neutrophil collagenase) is an important regulator of innate immunity which has onco-suppressive actions in numerous tumor types. We have intercrossed Mmp8-null mice with the Polyoma virus middle T oncogene-driven (MMTV-PyMT) mouse model of mammary cancer to explore the effects of loss of MMP-8 on the incidence and...
Article
The ADAMTS proteinases are a family of secreted, matrix-associated enzymes that have diverse roles in the regulation of tissue organization and vascular homeostasis. Several of the 19 human family members have been identified as having either tumour promoting or suppressing roles. We previously demonstrated that decreased ADAMTS15 expression correl...
Article
Full-text available
Dietary selenium intake has been linked to reduced cancer risk, however the underlying mechanisms are yet unknown. We question the commonly used practice of applying selenium concentrations found in human blood to in vitro studies and evaluated the utility of biomarkers, e.g., glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1) and thioredoxin reductase 1 (TrxR1), to...
Article
Full-text available
Matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8) is a tumor-suppressive protease that cleaves numerous substrates, including matrix proteins and chemokines. In particular, MMP-8 proteolytically activates IL-8 and, thereby, regulates neutrophil chemotaxis in vivo. We explored the effects of expression of either a WT or catalytically inactive (E198A) mutant versio...
Article
Full-text available
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) promotes extracellular matrix deposition by down-regulating the expression of matrix degrading proteinases and upregulating their inhibitors. Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-3 is an ECM-associated specific inhibitor of matrix degrading metalloproteinases. Here, we have characterized the signaling p...
Data
Primer and probe sequences for Quantitative Reverse Transcription PCR of mouse TIMP-3 and PAI-1 mRNAs. (DOCX)
Article
The original notion that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) act as tumour and metastasis-promoting enzymes by clearing a path for tumour cells to invade and metastasize has been challenged in the last decade. It has become clear that MMPs are involved in numerous steps of tumour progression and metastasis, and hence are now considered to be multiface...
Article
Full-text available
The human ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin-like motifs) family of 19 secreted, multidomain proteolytic enzymes is involved in a wide range of biological processes including ECM assembly and degradation, hemostasis, organogenesis and the regulation of angiogenesis. Defects in certain family members give rise to inherit...
Article
Full-text available
Axillary lymph node involvement is an important prognostic factor for breast cancer survival but is confounded by the number of nodes examined. We compare the performance of the log odds prognostic index (Lpi), using a ratio of the positive versus negative lymph nodes, with the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI) for short-term breast cancer specific...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motif ) family are a group of 19 extracellular, secreted proteases whose known functions include processing of procollagen molecules, cleavage of extracellular matrix proteoglycans and anti-angiogenesis. Our previous studies have shown that ADAMTS15 is a novel predictor of good pro...
Article
Full-text available
Prognostic subgroup classification of operable breast cancers using cDNA clustering of breast cancer-related genes resembles the classification based on the combined immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of the hormone and HER-2 receptors. We here report the short-term disease-free interval (DFI) of operable breast cancers by their joint hormone rec...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have linked cathepsins and their inhibitor cystatin C to tumor invasion and metastasis. We examined whether cathepsin B, cathepsin H, cathepsin X and cystatin C could be detected in sera from women with early stage or inflammatory breast cancer and whether they correlated with clinicopathological characteristics. Preoperative serum...
Article
Full-text available
The negative association between the oestrogen receptor (ER) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) in breast cancer travels in both directions. ER+ tumours are less likely HER-2+ and HER-2+ tumours are less likely ER+. We studied the age-related immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of ER, progesterone receptor (PR) and HER-2 in 2...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been found to associate with poor prognosis in various carcinomas. This study aimed at evaluating plasma levels of the collagenases MMP1, MMP8 and MMP13 as diagnostic and prognostic markers of breast cancer. Using ELISA, plasma levels of MMP1, MMP8 and MMP13 were measured in 42 control indivi...
Article
The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) can degrade various components of the extracellular matrix and are implicated in the development and progression of cancer. There is evidence suggesting an association of MMP gene polymorphisms with cancer susceptibility and/or metastasis. This paper reviews the findings on several single nucleotide polymorphism...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinases have been found to associate with poor prognosis in various carcinomas. This study aimed at evaluating plasma levels of MMP1, MMP8 and MMP13 as diagnostic and prognostic markers of breast cancer. A total of 208 breast cancer patients, of which 21 with inflammatory breast cancer, and 42 healthy controls w...
Article
Full-text available
To examine the frequency of axillary lymph node (ALN) invasion of operable breast cancers by their combined oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER-2 status. 2227 recently operated cases in one centre were retrieved from the Multidisciplinary Breast Centre database and stratified according to their combined immunohistochemical (...
Thesis
Borstkanker is nog steeds de meest voorkomende dodelijke vorm van kanker bij Europese vrouwen. Dankzij intensieve screening de ontwikkeling van efficiëntere systemische therapieën is de mortaliteit in Europa gedaald. De meerderheid van de sterfgevallen is te wijten aan de verspreiding van tumorcellen in het lichaam, ook wel metastasering genoemd. T...
Article
Full-text available
Animal and cell studies indicate an inhibitory effect of matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP8) on tumorigenesis and metastasis. We investigated whether MMP8 gene variation was associated with breast cancer metastasis and prognosis in humans. We first studied nine tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the MMP8 gene in 140 clinically and patho...
Article
Enhanced genomic instability has been recently reported in normal cells derived from BRCA1/2 mutation carriers when placed in vitro in non-physiological stress conditions. We present here original data which help to explain the observed genomic instability. Leucocytes from BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, sporadic breast cancer patients and controls were...
Chapter
Full-text available
Aberrant expression of individual matrix metalloproteinases has been associated with poor prognosis in various human carcinomas. The current study aimed at defining an RNA expression profile of various MMPs in breast cancer and correlating their expression with clinicopathological parameters. The RNA expression patterns of 6 MMPs (MMP2, MMP8, MMP9,...
Article
I read with great interest the recent article by Li et al. (1), in which they presented a novel, cost-effective quantitative PCR technology for the analysis of clinical cancer samples. They developed an antiprimer quenching-based real-time PCR (aQRT-PCR) that uses fluorescently labeled PCR primers in combination with a universal quenching antiprime...
Article
A great deal of breast cancer research has been devoted to the search for new prognostic and predictive markers which could, on the one hand, enable a more precise identification of patients at high risk of recurrence and, on the other hand, predict the response of each individual patient to the administered therapy. Proteases have been the center...
Article
Full-text available
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), in particular the gelatinases MMP2 and MMP9, are important mediators of tumour invasion and metastasis. We examined whether plasma gelatinase levels could predict lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients. Further, we investigated the relationship of plasma gelatinase levels with Her2/neu expression, recently...

Questions

Questions (9)
Question
Hi, we are trying to transfect breast cancer cell lines with several cell penetrating peptide-siRNA complexes but it seems that our peptides are not taken up by the cells.
  • We use several CPPs: 8R, 10R, 8R-RGD, 10R-RGD, cRGD-8R, cRGD-10R and complex them to our siRNA for 30min at 37C.
  • Based on gel retardation assays, we then selected the optimal molar ratio for transfection.
  • When transfecting the 10R-RGD/siRNA complexes in MDA-MB-468 cells, we can observe large circular fluorescent (siRNA) structures floating around but after few hours these disappear and no fluorescent signal can be observed in the cells.
So, basically the 10R-RGD/siRNA complexes are not taken up by the cells.
I would appreciate any advice on how to improve cellular uptake as we are completely stuck with this project at the moment.
Question
I'm looking for a protocol for TCR cloning into a retroviral vector with peptide-stimulated T cells as starting point.
I was told by a colleague to first clone the TCR alpha and beta chain using multiple PCR rounds. However, I noticed that there are many different and new methods published.
Does anyone have any preference or recommendation which method/protocol to use? Also which retroviral vector?
Thanks, any feedback is highly appreciated.
Question
I am trying to culture the HMEpC cell line but the cells are slowly dying. Upon arrival of the cell line from the supplier, I put them in a T75 flask using the Human Mammary Epithelial Cell Growth Medium from Sigma (815-500). The cells don't seem to grow but are slowly dying. You can see clumps of cells but they are all floating. It seems that once the cells are proliferating they lift of the surface of the culture flask.
Does anyone have any idea on how I can rescue the cell line before all cells have died?
Question
I'm looking into various quantification methods for blood vessels in FFPE tumour tissue. We have endomucin stained slides with Alexa labelled 2airy Ab. I have noticed some people count the number of vessels/area, while others count the vessel area/tumour area. Which method would you prefer and also which software would you use to do this?
Question
I'm having trouble using a sandwich collagen gel model.
The top layer of 1.5 mg/ml collagen type I gel, containing the cells, will dislodge from the bottom layer of collagen gel and float after addition of media.
I polymerize the bottom layer of collagen type I @ 37°C for 30min, followed by addition of the top layer with cells with polymerization for 1 hour.
After that I add the pre-warmed media and notice the top layer to float off immediately or after a certain time. I'm really troubled and have tried to dry the gels longer, add the media very slowly and in steps to the side of the well.
I do have to say that the cells are actually spheroids formed in methocell, centrifuged, and resuspended in collagen gel. So there might be a little methocell remaining and mixed within the top layer of collagen gel, would this be a problem?
Does anyone have an idea what could be the cause of the top layer to float off?