Lauren Peiffer Awarded Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Early Investigator Research Award

Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Peiffer for her recently awarded DoD PCRP Early Investigator Research Award “The Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Immunotherapy in Advanced Prostate Cancer”!! Lauren continues to impress as she also just recently passed her veterinary boards and is now a Board Certified Anatomic Veterinary Pathologist!!  We’re so proud of you!!

New from Sfanos Lab: Compositional differences in gastrointestinal microbiota in prostate cancer patients treated with androgen axis-targeted therapies

We recently published our first study that examines differences in the gastrointestinal (gut) flora that are possibly induced by prostate cancer treatment with androgen receptor-axis targeted therapies including enzalutamide and abiraterone acetate. Key findings include the observation of significant compositional differences in the gut microbiota of men taking oral formulations of medications that target the androgen receptor axis including a greater abundance of species previously linked to response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy such as Akkermansia muciniphila and Ruminococcaceae spp. In functional analyses, we found an enriched representation of bacterial gene pathways involved in steroid biosynthesis and steroid hormone biosynthesis in the fecal microbiota of men taking oral androgen axis targeting drugs. This study was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation as part of a 2016 Challenge Award.

The study can be found here:

A commentary on our article published in Nature Reviews Urology can also be found here:

A write up of our article and the topic by the Prostate Cancer Foundation can also be found here:

2018 Johns Hopkins CARES Summer Symposium

Sfanos lab summer interns Ayanna Carter and Ryan Kempski recently participated in the Johns Hopkins Career, Academic, and Research Experiences for Students (CARES) Summer Symposium as part of the MERIT Health Leadership Academy and the Basic Science Institute – Summer Internship Program, respectively. Ayanna presented her project “P2X4 Receptors and Nucleotide Treatment Effects in Prostate Cancer” and Ryan presented his project “P2X4 Purinergic Receptor Expression in Prostate Cancer”. Both students conducted their summer research under the mentorship of Sfanos lab postdoctoral fellow Janielle Maynard, Ph.D. Fantastic work Ayanna, Ryan, and Janielle!

Ayanna Carter and Dr. Janielle Maynard

Ryan Kempski and Dr. Janielle Maynard

Sfanos lab @HopkinsMedicine featured as “front page story” on @CDMRP website.

Our research funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) is currently highlighted on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) website. This work is focused on understanding the role of inflammation and inflammatory factors in the prostate tumor microenvironment on tumor aggressiveness. The video covers a study led by Dr. Heidi Hempel, a former Sfanos lab graduate student (now postdoctoral fellow at the NCI), who examined the relationship between mast cells, tumor aggressiveness, and the racial disparity in prostate cancer.

Sfanos Lab at #AACR18

Dr. Janielle Maynard, Sarah Ernst, and Eva Shrestha

Several members of the Sfanos Lab are in attendance at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

Sarah Ernst, M.S. presented an abstract on biobanking and feasibility considerations for our PCF-funded study on the gastrointestinal microbiome in metastatic, lethal prostate cancer.

Dr. Janielle Maynard is presenting an abstract on her work examining cytokines in the tumor microenvironment in prostate cancer racial disparities.

Eva Shrestha, B.A. is presenting an abstract on her work involving the development of RNA in situ hybridization techniques to localize and visualize bacteria in cancer tissues.

Great work Sarah, Janielle, and Eva!!

News Release for De Marzo Study on Tissue Storage for Molecular Analyses

A new study led by members of the De Marzo lab, and including collaborators from the Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network, reports on important considerations for storage of tissues that will later be used for RNA-based studies. Bottom line, storage of FFPE blocks at room temperature may lead to misleading results, at least for the strength of RNA in situ hybridization signals as assessed in this study. Freezing blocks preserves these signals, and freezing should be considered for samples that may later be used for RNA-based assays. Read the Hopkins Medicine news release here.



Congratulations Dr. Heidi Hempel Sulllivan!

Heidi speaking during her dissertation presentation.

Congratulations to Dr. Heidi Hempel Sullivan for successfully completing all dissertation requirements for the Pathobiology graduate program at Johns Hopkins!! Heidi’s thesis is entitled “The role of mast cells in prostate cancer initiation and recurrence”. Heidi will be moving on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI. Great work Heidi!

Dr. Janielle Maynard Receives 2017 John Willey Translational Research Award

Janielle Maynard, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Sfanos lab postdoctoral fellow Janielle Maynard, Ph.D. for receiving the 2017 John Willey Translational Research Award at the Johns Hopkins Department of Urology Prostate Cancer Research Day. Janielle presented her work entitled “The Inflammatory Microenvironment in Prostate Cancer Racial Disparities”. Great work Janielle!