Shawn Baldacchino

Shawn Baldacchino
Mater Dei Hospital · Cellular Pathology

BSc, PhD
Cellular Pathology; Molecular Pathology; Translational Healthcare Research

About

53
Publications
10,490
Reads
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6,626
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2019 - March 2020
Applied Biotech Ltd
Position
  • CEO
May 2017 - May 2019
University of Malta
Position
  • Research Officer
November 2016 - May 2017
University of Malta
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
October 2011 - November 2016
University of Malta
Field of study
  • Molecular Pathology
October 2007 - July 2011
University of Malta
Field of study
  • Medical Laboratory Science

Publications

Publications (53)
Chapter
Full-text available
Liquid biopsy solutions are available for niche clinical applications. The patient benefits of such solutions are evident: ease of sampling, acceptable and repeatable. To date a number of solutions have received regulatory approval with more comprehensive, multi-cancer companion diagnostic approaches receiving approval in late 2020. Given these bre...
Article
Full-text available
The last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of scientific publications describing physiological and pathological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs), a collective term covering various subtypes of cell-released, membranous structures, called exosomes, microvesicles, microparticles, ectosomes, oncosomes, apoptotic bodies, and many...
Presentation
Full-text available
The first Histology audit of Maltese breast cancer
Article
Full-text available
Nucleic acid degradation in archival tissue, tumor heterogeneity, and a lack of fresh frozen tissue specimens can negatively impact cancer diagnostic services in pathology laboratories worldwide. Gene amplification and expression diagnostic testing using archival material or material that requires transportation to servicing laboratories, needs a m...
Preprint
Cancer metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. The metastatic process involves measurable cellular changes that confer migratory potential, proliferative advantage and the ability to colonise a distinct microenvironment. Accumulation of aberrations and clonal evolution add complexity to patient management and the assessment of...
Article
Full-text available
Diagnosing thyroid carcinoma is not always easy on basic haemtoxylin and eosin staining since nuclear features are inconsistent and controversial. In view of this, studies on the role of immunohistochemical markers in the diagnosis of malignant thyroid carcinoma are necessary. Proposed immunohistochemical markers for papillary thyroid cancer includ...
Article
Cancer metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. The metastatic process involves measurable cellular changes that confer migratory potential, proliferative advantage and the ability to colonise a distinct microenvironment. Accumulation of aberrations and clonal evolution add complexity to patient management and the assessment of...
Article
The present study shows that nuclear factor erythroid 2‐related factor 2 (NRF2) and miR‐29b‐1‐5p are two opposite forces which could regulate the fate of MDA‐MB‐231 cells, the most studied triple‐negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell line. We show that NRF2 activation stimulates cell growth and markedly reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation...
Article
Triple‐negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a form of BC characterized by high aggressiveness and therapy resistance probably determined by cancer stem cells. MCL1 is an antiapoptotic Bcl‐2 family member that could limit the efficacy of anticancer agents as recombinant human tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis‐inducing ligand (rh‐TRAIL). Here, we i...
Article
Full-text available
The last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of scientific publications describing physiological and pathological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs), a collective term covering various subtypes of cell-released, membranous structures, called exosomes, microvesicles, microparticles, ectosomes, oncosomes, apoptotic bodies, and many...
Article
Full-text available
The last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of scientific publications describing physiological and pathological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs), a collective term covering various subtypes of cell-released, membranous structures, called exosomes, microvesicles, microparticles, ectosomes, oncosomes, apoptotic bodies, and many...
Article
Patient stratification, prognosis and disease monitoring are three important aspects of personalized cancer medicine. With traditional serum tumour protein biomarkers showing lack of specificity and sensitivity, and tumour heterogeneity affecting the response to targeted therapy based on tissue biomarkers, the focus has shifted to the use of molecu...
Poster
Full-text available
Background & Objectives Accurate tumour diagnosis is vital for adequate patient management. The current breast cancer diagnostic workflow is subject to pre-analytic variables, interpretation and defined thresholds. HER2 copy number assessment on 960 breast cancer samples (cBIOPortal, TCGA) is estimated to detect 1.3% amplification in the absence of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is associated with a worse prognosis among breast cancer subtypes due to the lack of targeted therapy. The protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a heterogeneous tumour suppressor complex that is tightly regulated in terms of activity and target specificity. Oncogenic inactivation of PP2A is known to be m...
Conference Paper
Objective: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients derive little benefit from target-specific therapies due to a lack of favourable prognostic targets, ER, PR and HER2. The aim of this project was to define biomarkers to measure PP2A complex activity in breast cancer predicting a novel therapeutic class. Methods: A multiplex assay using bran...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Diagnosis of breast cancer subtypes determines therapeutic options and prognosis. These subtypes are hallmarked by the expression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and oestrogen and progesterone receptors (HER2, ER and PgR). An audit of breast cancer diagnosed in Malta between 2009 and 2016 indicates that 85% were ER-positive, 11% we...
Conference Paper
Objective: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients derive little benefit from target-specific therapies due to lack of the favourable prognostic targets, ER, PR and HER2. The aim of this project was to define biomarkers to measure PP2A complex deregulation in breast cancer predicting a novel therapeutic class. Methods: A candidate set of PP2A...
Conference Paper
Biomarker panels are increasingly being employed to subtype tumours into therapeutic groups. This is exemplified by the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) molecular classification in breast cancer. Understanding deregulated cellular mechanisms in tumours uncovers new targets for t...
Article
Full-text available
CIP2A is emerging as an oncoprotein overexpressed commonly across many tumours and generally correlated with higher tumour grade and therapeutic resistance. CIP2A drives an oncogenic potential through inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A, stabilizing MYC, and promoting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, although further biological mechanisms for CI...
Article
Full-text available
MiR-29 family dysregulation occurs in various cancers including breast cancers. We investigated miR-29b-1 functional role in human triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) the most aggressive breast cancer subtype. We found that miR-29b-1-5p was downregulated in human TNBC tissues and cell lines. To assess whether miR-29b-1-5p correlated with TNBC rege...
Article
The complexity of the phosphatase, PP2A is being unravelled and current research is increasingly providing information on the association of deregulated PP2A function with cancer initiation and progression. It has been reported that decreased activity of PP2A is a recurrent observation in many types of cancer, including colorectal and breast cancer...
Article
The use of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) material to analyse gene expression is limited by the low quality of extracted RNA. In this paper, we utilised an RNA based assay to quantify expression of luminal and basal markers, together with ERBB2 probes, in FFPE archival tissue from 2009 to 2010, all of which had clinical and therap...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Breast cancer is the commonest incident tumour in the Maltese islands. The disease is heterogeneous and exhibit diverse clinical prognosis and survival rates. Proper patient classification helps stratify breast cancer groups to ascertain likely prognostic outcome and select treatment. Breast cancer survival has commonly been described...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Expression of Cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) has been correlated with the clinical aggression and progression of breast cancer. CIP2A inhibits protein phosphatase 2A promoting proliferation and survival. This study aims to compare the transcript and protein expression and determine the significance of CIP2A loca...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: The Basal Breast cancer subtype persists as a heterogeneous group that shows worse prognosis due to lack of targeted therapy. Understanding the deregulated cellular mechanisms uncovers new therapeutic targets which require biomarkers to select eligible patients. Analysis of datasets (cBioPortal) show that 59.6% of basal cancer exhibit...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients derive little benefit from target-specific therapies due to lack of the favourable prognostic targets. Data from the cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics demonstrate that PP2A function is likely to be reduced in up to 60% of basal breast tumours. Tumours exhibit either homozygous deletion or und...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Breast cancer patients can be classified using receptor status or based on expression of specific signature genes. Classification of patients provides the basis to select specific targeted therapy and to identify new molecular subytpes with potential therapeutic options. Data from the cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics demonstrate that PP...
Conference Paper
Introduction: PP2A plays an integral role in the regulation of a number of major signalling pathways involved in the maintenance of normal cell division and survival. PP2A endogenous inhibitory subunits, namely SET, CIP2A and IGBP1, commonly found overexpressed in cancer, can suppress this PP2A activity resulting in cell proliferation and survival....
Conference Paper
Biomarker panels are increasingly being employed to subtype tumours into therapeutic groups. This is exemplified by the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) molecular classification in breast cancer. Understanding deregulated cellular mechanisms in tumours uncovers new targets for t...
Conference Paper
Molecular medicine evolved rapidly in the past decade, focusing on genetics and cellular mechanisms of disease, providing knowledge on (1) causative genes in monogenic diseases and syndromes, as well as susceptibility genes that work in concert with other genetic and environmental factors to elicit the disease; and (2) deregulated mechanisms within...
Conference Paper
Background. Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women. Rapamycin, a mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, induces apoptosis by reversing the effects of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. mTORC1 has an increased activity in various cancers. The main targets of mTORC1, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding prote...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients derive little benefit from target-specific therapies due to lack of the favourable prognostic targets oestrogen/progesterone receptor (ER/PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2). Data from the cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics demonstrate that PP2A function is likely to be...
Research
Full-text available
Introduction: Utilisation of biomarker panels is increasingly being employed to subtype tumours into therapeutic groups. This is exemplified by the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) molecular classification in breast cancer. Understanding deregulated cellular mechanisms in tumour...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objective: Deregulation of the protein serine/threonine phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) and regulatory subunits is a common event in breast cancer (Baldacchino et al 2014). The cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics shows that PP2A is deregulated in 59.6% of basal breast tumours, providing a possible target for therapy. This study aims to investigate the expres...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Title: Variation in the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complex is a common event in breast cancer patients Shawn Baldacchino, Christian Saliba, Sharon Falzon, Keith Sacco, James DeGaetano, Gordon Caruana Dingli, Joseph Debono, Anthony G. Fenech, Christian Scerri, Godfrey Grech Objective: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients derive little b...
Article
Full-text available
Background The most commonly used biomarkers to predict the response of breast cancer patients to therapy are oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Patients positive for these biomarkers are eligible for specific therapies such as anti-oestrogen therapy in the event of ER and PgR...
Article
Full-text available
The most commonly used biomarkers to predict the response of breast cancer patients to therapy are the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Patients positive for these biomarkers are eligible for specific therapies such as endocrine treatment in the event of ER and PgR positivity...
Article
Haematopoiesis is a complex process regulated at various levels facilitating rapid responses to external factors including stress, modulation of lineage commitment and terminal differentiation of progenitors. Although the transcription program determines the RNA pool of a cell, various mRNA strands can be obtained from the same template, giving ris...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction The characterisation of the molecular mechanism of disease allows classification of patients into subtypes and potentially identifies specific targets for therapeutic intervention. Tyrosine kinase mutations are central to specific targeted therapy. Investigation of kinase deregulation within particular patient groups, has led to identi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: The protein serine/threonine phosphatase type 2A (pp2a) is a heterotrimer complex composed of a catalytic subunit (pp2aC), the scaffolding A subunit (pp2aA), and the variable B regulatory subunit. The pp2a complex attenuates the phosphorylation of various signals involved in cell survival and proliferation. Missense mutations in the c...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Investigating novel testing methods for detecting and subtyping tumours earlier.