Michael K. Wendt
Ph.D. - 2007 Medical College of Wisconsin (Molecular Genetics)
Postdoc - 2007-2010 University of Colorado (Pharmacology)
Postdoc - 2010-2013 Case Western Reserve University (General Medical Sciences (Oncology)).
Research in the Wendt lab focuses on pharmacological targeting of molecular players involved in the metastatic outgrowth of breast cancer. Systemic dissemination is an extremely early event in breast cancer progression, therefore we primarily focus on developing strategies that are specifically designed to target secondary tumors. We take two major approaches to this challenge:
1.Through metastatic progression breast cancer cells under epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and reverse process of mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET). An overriding hypothesis in the lab is that through the processes of EMT:MET the secondary epithelial state that characterizes the metastatic tumor is fundamentally unique from the epithelial status of the primary tumors. We believe these differences hold the keys to developing therapeutics capable to pharmacologically treating metastatic lesions.
2.Subsequent to dissemination, a large fraction of tumor cells enter into an asymptomatic state of dormancy. The ability of normal organs to resist tumor secondary tumor formation is the body’s last defense against metastatic disease progression. The environmental factors (drugs, alcohol, diet, etc…) capable of “awaking” disseminated cells are poorly characterized. Understanding these factors is required if we hope to design therapeutics capable of maintaining systemic tumor dormancy.
Approaches: Ongoing work in my lab utilizes bioinformatics, genetics and pharmacologic approaches to validate the role of molecules in eliciting the EMT and drug resistant status of cancer cells. To address these questions we utilize several in vitro imaging techniques in conjunction with three-dimensional cell culture and in vivo mouse models of tumor growth and metastasis. In particular our lab has a directed focus on utilizing in vivo bioluminescent imaging to track and quantify cell number, location and specific activation of particular signaling pathways. We are always looking for productive collaborations!
Ali R, Brown W, Purdy SC, Davisson VJ, Wendt MK. Biased signaling downstream of epidermal growth factor receptor regulates proliferative versus apoptotic response to ligand. Cell Death and Disease, under review. Preprint available at: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/06/20/352526
Shinde A, Wilmanski T, Chen H, Teegarden D, Wendt MK. Pyruvate carboxylase supports the pulmonary tropism of metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research. 2018. 20:76.
Shinde A, Alpsoy A, Abdullah A, Schaber J, Solorio L, Wendt MK. Autocrine fibronectin inhibits breast cancer metastasis. Molecular Cancer Research, doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0151
Chen IH, Aguilar HA, Paez Paez JS, Wu X, Pan L, Wendt MK, Iliuk AB, Zhang Y, Tao WA. Analytical Pipeline for Discovery and Verification of Glycoproteins from Plasma-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as Breast Cancer Biomarkers. Anal Chem. 2018 Apr 23. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.
Hardy S, Shinde A, Wang WH, Wendt MK†, Geahlen R†. Regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis by TGF-b, P-bodies, and autophagy. Oncotarget, DOI:10.18632/oncotarget.21871. Epub Oct 17 2017
Wilmanski T, Zhou X, Zheng W, Shinde A, Donkin SS, Wendt MK, Burgess JR, Teegarden D. Inhibition of Pyruvate Carboxylase by 1,alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D Promotes Oxidative Stress in Early Breast Cancer Progression. Cancer Letters, 411(2017); 171-181.
Bartolowits MD, Brown W, Ali R, Pedley AM, Chen Q, Harvey KE, Wendt MK, Davisson VJ. Selective inhibition of STAT3 phosphorylation using a nuclear-targeted kinase inhibitor. ACS Chem Biol. Epub Aug 18 2017.
Chen I, Liang X, Hsu CC, Paez JS, Pan L, Andaluz H, Wendt MK, Iliuk AB, Zhu JK, Tao WA. Phosphoproteins in extracellular vesicles as candidate markers for breast cancer. PNAS. Epub March 7 2017.
Brown WS, Akhand SS, Wendt MK. FGFR signaling maintains a drug persistent state following induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Oncotarget. Epub Nov 4 2016.
Brown WS, Tan L, Smith A, Gray NS, Wendt MK. Covalent targeting of fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibits metastatic breast cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Epub July 1 2016.
Wendt MK †, Williams WK, Pascuzzi PE, Balanis NG, Schiemann BJ, Carlin CR, Schiemann WP. The antitumorigenic function of EGFR in metastatic breast cancer is regulated by expression of Mig6. Neoplasia. 2015 Jan; 17(1): 124-133.
Wendt MK †, Molly A. Taylor, Schiemann BJ, Khalid Sossey-Alaoui, Schiemann WP. FGFR splice variants are stable markers of oncogenic TGF-beta signaling in metastatic breast cancer.Breast Cancer Research. 2014 Mar 11;16(2):R24.
Ali RA, Wendt MK. The paradoxical functions of EGFR during breast cancer progression. Signal transduction and targeted therapy. 2017. doi:10.1038/sigtrans.2016.42. Epub 2017 Jan 20.
Brown WS, Wendt MK. Integrin-mediated resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor-targeted therapy: an inflammatory situation. Breast Cancer Research. 2014. Sept. 16(5):448.
Ali RA, Akhand SS, Wendt MK. Targeting FGFR for the treatment of breast cancer. Resistance to Targeted Therapies in Breast cancer. 2017 Editor: Jenifer Prosperi. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-70142-4_5#enumeration