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Rakesh Jain, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 1992
For his contribution of applying engineering principles to cancer research.

Glioma subtypes determine how the dangerous tumors spread, evade anti-angiogenic treatment

Via Massachusetts General Hospital | April 27, 2018

A multi-institutional research team has identified a new mechanism by which the dangerous brain tumors called gliomas develop resistance to anti-angiogenic treatment. The team’s report, published online in Cancer Cell, describes finding how different molecular subtypes of glioma cells use different strategies to spread through the brain and how anti-angiogenic treatment selects for a treatment-resistant cellular subtype.

“Despite massive basic and clinical research efforts, the treatment of glioblastoma and other malignant gliomas remains one of the most challenging tasks in clinical oncology,” says Rakesh Jain, PhD, director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Radiation Oncology and co-senior author of the report. “Glioblastomas are highly vascularized and interact closely with pre-existing blood vessels for oxygen and nutrients. They also contain a very diverse population of cells, with characteristics of stem cell and other cells found within the brain, and may use different strategies to recruit or access blood vessels, depending on the local microenvironment and on treatments that are applied… Continue reading.

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Intersecting Paths, Unprecedented Journeys

Via University of Delaware | April 27, 2018

As a research facility at one of America’s top hospitals buzzes with activity, two men chat in a narrow, unassuming office. One is jaunty, with a smile as his default facial expression and a melodic lilt to his voice. The other is more reserved and speaks with a softer, deeper tone.

They haven’t seen each other in about a year and a half, but once they’ve shaken hands, their conversation immediately turns to science. When your work has the potential to save millions of lives, that’s what you do.

Rakesh K. Jain, COE74M, 76PhD, has spent decades working on some of the world’s most pressing health problems, and has come to be regarded as one of America’s most accomplished scientists. Arup K. Chakraborty, COE88PhD, is tackling one of the world’s most elusive challenges: creating a vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS.

Both professors are where they are today partly thanks to the school that helped set their scholarly paths: the University of Delaware… Continue reading.

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Obesity may promote resistance to antiangiogenic therapy for breast cancer

Via Massachusetts General Hospital | March 14, 2018

Obesity – which is already known to reduce survival in several types of cancer – may explain the ineffectiveness of angiogenesis inhibitors in the treatment of breast cancer. A research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators describes finding, for the first time, that obesity and obesity-related molecular factors appear to induce resistance to antiangiogenic therapy in breast cancer patients and in two mouse models of the disease. Their report in Science Translational Medicine also details specific obesity-related factors underlying that resistance and outlines potential therapeutic strategies that may overcome it.

“Collectively, our clinical and preclinical results indicate that obesity fuels resistance to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy in breast cancer via production of several inflammatory and pro-angiogenic factors, depending on the subtype of cancer,” says Joao Incio, MD, PhD, of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology, lead author of the report. “Targeting these resistance factors may rejuvenate the use of antiangiogenic therapy in breast cancer treatment.”

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Rakesh K. Jain, PhD, director of the Steele Labs in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology, is co-senior author of the Science Translational Medicine report. Jain is the Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology), and Fukumura is an associate professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School. Support for the study includes Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Innovator Award W81XWH-10-1-0016; National Cancer Institute grants R01-CA126642, R35CA197743, P01-CA080124, R01-CA208205, R01-CA096915 and S10-RR027070; and grants from the Harvard Ludwig Cancer Center and the National Foundation for Cancer Research… Continue reading.

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Adding Immunotherapy to Neurofibromatosis Treatment May Mitigate Hearing Loss

Via Specialty Pharmacy Times | March 5, 2018

The addition of an immunotherapy may prevent serious hearing damage related to radiotherapy that treats tumors associated with neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), according to a study published by PNAS Plus.

The researchers found that crizotinib inhibited a molecular pathway that improved the radiosensitivity of tumors in mice models of the genetic disease, which lead to a reduced dose. The treatment also was observed to stop the growth of cultured cancer cells from patients with NF2.

Additionally, the authors developed a new mouse model that better mimics NF2 hearing loss and a system for culturing NF2 tumor cells.

“The hallmark of NF2 are intracranial tumors called vestibular schwannomas, which typically lead to profound hearing loss,” said co-corresponding author Lei Xu, MD, PhD. “For most patients, hearing loss is the most disabling symptom of these tumors, and the primary treatments for growing tumors—surgery and radiation therapy—can further damage hearing. The development of a novel therapeutic strategy with enhanced efficacy and minimal treatment-related hearing loss is urgently needed… Continue reading.

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National Medal of Science Recipient Rakesh Jain

Via American Bazaar | May 21, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC: This year’s National Medal of Science winner Rakesh K. Jain said he was thrilled to receive the prestigious award from President Barack Obama.

“It’s an absolute thrill to receive this from President Obama,” he remarked from a general press podium outside of the White House just moments after the award ceremony. “He is really one of my heroes.”

Jain, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, was one of the 17 individuals who received the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from Obama at the White House on May 19.

Jain also offered a poignant nugget of advice to any young Indian Americans who find themselves drawn to STEM fields.

“Follow your passion,” he said. “Do what your heart and mind what you to and work hard. If you work hard and you’re passionate about something, you’re going to get there. That’s my thinking.”

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