About Dr. Curran
I n four years at the University of Virginia, Dr. Curran completed B.A. degrees in biology and foreign affairs and a minor in computer science while receiving accolades for the best undergraduate laboratory research project. He next received a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University where he was awarded the McDevitt prize for the best graduate thesis in his year. Dr. Curran was the first recipient of the prestigious American Cancer Society Levy Fellowship to fund his post-doctoral studies in the lab of Dr. James P. Allison. While pursuing his postdoctoral studies at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Curran published several influential manuscripts describing how T cell co-stimulatory pathways could be modulated in tandem to mediate immunologic rejection of melanomas in mice. Dr. Curran described how combination blockade of the T cell co-inhibitory receptors CTLA-4 and PD-1 promoted the rejection of a majority of murine melanomas. This work supported the launch of a Phase I clinical trial in which greater than 50% of metastatic melanoma patients experienced objective clinical responses - a result so unprecedented that this became the first FDA-approved immunotherapy combination. In addition, his subsequent immunologic studies of 4-1BB agonist antibodies earned him the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer's prestigious Presidential Award. At the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Curran is an Associate Professor of Immunology as well as co-Scientific Director of the Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation (ORBIT) program that coordinates development and production of clinical immunotherapeutic antibodies. The Curran Lab seeks to discover the underlying mechanisms of immune resistance in the “coldest” tumors, pancreatic and prostate adenocarcinoma and glioblastoma, so that rational therapeutic interventions can be developed to restore T cell infiltration and sensitivity to T cell checkpoint blockade (for which TIL are the substrate).
Associate Professor, Department of Immunology, Division of Basic Science Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Member, Division of Graduate Faculty, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), Houston, TX
Member, Head and Neck Cancer Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
|2001||Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, PHD, Immunology|
|1995||University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA, BA, Foreign Affairs|
|1995||University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA, BA, Biology|
|2004-2012||Postdoctoral Fellow, Immunology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York, NY|
|2001-2004||Postdoctoral Fellow, Immunology, University of California, Berkeley, CA|
Assistant Professor, Department of Immunology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2012 - 2018
|2017||DOD Peer Reviewed Cancer Highlights (Pancreatic Cancer), Department of Defense (DOD)|
|2015||American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Early Career Faculty Travel Grant, American Association of Immunologists (AAI)|
|2014||American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) New Investigator of the Month, American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT)|
|2011||Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Immunology Program Postdoctoral Publication Award, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)|
|2010||iSBTc Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting Presidential Award, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer|
|2001||IDEC/Genentech/Ronald Levy Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, American Cancer Society (ACS)|
|2001||The Hugh McDevitt Prize, Stanford University|
|1996||Markey Predoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University|
|1995||Katz Undergraduate Research Symposium, First Prize, University of Virginia|
|1995||Phi Beta Kappa, University of Virginia|
- Reilley MJ, Morrow B, Ager CR, Liu A, Hong DS, Curran MA. TLR9 activation cooperates with T cell checkpoint blockade to regress poorly immunogenic melanoma. J Immunother Cancer 7(1):323, 2019. e-Pub 2019. PMID: 31771649.
- Massarelli E, William W, Johnson F, Kies M, Ferrarotto R, Guo M, Feng L, Lee JJ, Tran H, Kim YU, Haymaker C, Bernatchez C, Curran M, Zecchini Barrese T, Rodriguez Canales J, Wistuba I, Li L, Wang J, van der Burg SH, Melief CJ, Glisson B. Combining immune checkpoint blockade and tumor-specific vaccine for patients with incurable human papillomavirus 16-related cancer: a phase 2 clinical trial. JAMA Oncol, 2019. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30267032.
- Curran MA, Glisson BS. New hope for therapeutic cancer vaccines in the era of immune checkpoint modulation. Annu Rev Med 70:409-424, 2019. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30379596.
- Kapp K, Volz B, Curran MA, Oswald D, Wittig B, Schmidt M. EnanDIM - a novel family of L-nucleotide-protected TLR9 agonists for cancer immunotherapy. J Immunother Cancer 7(1):5, 2019. e-Pub 2019. PMID: 30621769.
- Jayaprakash P, Ai M, Liu A, Budhani P, Bartkowiak T, Sheng J, Ager C, Nicholas C, Jaiswal AR, Sun Y, Shah K, Balasubramanyam S, Li N, Wang G, Ning J, Zal A, Zal T, Curran MA. Targeted hypoxia reduction restores T cell infiltration and sensitizes prostate cancer to immunotherapy. J Clin Invest 128(11):5137-5149, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30188869.
- Reilley MJ, McCoon P, Cook C, Lyne P, Kurzrock R, Kim Y, Woessner R, Younes A, Nemunaitis J, Fowler N, Curran M, Liu Q, Zhou T, Schmidt J, Jo M, Lee SJ, Yamashita M, Hughes SG, Fayad L, Piha-Paul S, Nadella MVP, Xiao X, Hsu J, Revenko A, Monia BP, MacLeod AR, Hong DS. STAT3 antisense oligonucleotide AZD9150 in a subset of patients with heavily pretreated lymphoma: results of a phase 1b trial. J Immunother Cancer 6(1):119, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30446007.
- Zhou L, Husted H, Moore T, Lu M, Deng D, Liu Y, Ramachandran V, Arumugam T, Niehrs C, Wang H, Chiao P, Ling J, Curran MA, Maitra A, Hung MC, Lee JE, Logsdon CD, Hwang RF. Suppression of stromal-derived Dickkopf-3 (DKK3) inhibits tumor progression and prolongs survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Sci Transl Med 10(464), 2018. PMID: 30355799.
- Dorta-Estremera S, Chin RL, Sierra G, Nicholas C, Yanamandra AV, Nookala SMK, Yang G, Singh S, Curran MA, Sastry KJ. Mucosal HPV E6/E7 peptide vaccination in combination with immune checkpoint modulation induces regression of HPV+ oral cancers. Cancer Res 78(18):5327-5339, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30054333.
- Jamieson SM, Tsai P, Kondratyev MK, Budhani P, Liu A, Senzer NN, Chiorean EG, Jalal SI, Nemunaitis JJ, Kee D, Shome A, Wong WW, Li D, Poonawala-Lohani N, Kakadia PM, Knowlton NS, Lynch CR, Hong CR, Lee TW, Grénman RA, Caporiccio L, McKee TD, Zaidi M, Butt S, Macann AM, McIvor NP, Chaplin JM, Hicks KO, Bohlander SK, Wouters BG, Hart CP, Print CG, Wilson WR, Curran MA, Hunter FW. Evofosfamide for the treatment of human papillomavirus-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. JCI Insight 3(16), 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30135316.
- Buchan SL, Fallatah M, Thirdborough SM, Taraban VY, Rogel A, Thomas LJ, Penfold CA, He LZ, Curran MA, Keler T, Al-Shamkhani A. PD-1 blockade and CD27 stimulation activate distinct transcriptional programs that synergize for CD8+ T-cell driven anti-tumor immunity. Clin Cancer Res 24(10):2383-2394, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 29514845.
- Bartkowiak T, Jaiswal AR, Ager CR, Chin R, Chen CH, Budhani P, Ai M, Reilley MJ, Sebastian MM, Hong DS, Curran MA. Activation of 4-1BB on liver myeloid cells triggers hepatitis via an interleukin-27-dependent pathway. Clin Cancer Res 24(5):1138-1151, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 29301830.
- Curran MA. Preclinical data supporting antitumor activity of PD-1 blockade. Cancer J 24(1):2-6, 2018. PMID: 29360721.
- Singh M, Vianden C, Cantwell MJ, Dai Z, Xiao Z, Sharma M, Khong H, Jaiswal AR, Faak F, Hailemichael Y, Janssen LME, Bharadwaj U, Curran MA, Diab A, Bassett RL, Tweardy DJ, Hwu P, Overwijk WW. Intratumoral CD40 activation and checkpoint blockade induces T cell-mediated eradication of melanoma in the brain. Nat Commun 8(1):1447, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 29129918.
- Ager CR, Reilley MJ, Nicholas C, Bartkowiak T, Jaiswal AR, Curran MA. Intratumoral STING activation with T-cell checkpoint modulation generates systemic antitumor immunity. Cancer Immunol Res 5(8):676-684, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28674082.
- Tang C, Welsh JW, de Groot P, Massarelli E, Chang JY, Hess KR, Basu S, Curran MA, Cabanillas ME, Subbiah V, Fu S, Tsimberidou AM, Karp D, Gomez DR, Diab A, Komaki R, Heymach JV, Sharma P, Naing A, Hong DS. Ipilimumab with stereotactic ablative radiation therapy: phase I results and immunologic correlates from peripheral T cells. Clin Cancer Res 23(6):1388-1396, 2017. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27649551.
- Chouaib S, Noman MZ, Kosmatopoulos K, Curran MA. Hypoxic stress: obstacles and opportunities for innovative immunotherapy of cancer. Oncogene 36(4):439-445, 2017. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27345407.
- Gabrusiewicz K, Rodriguez B, Wei J, Hashimoto Y, Healy LM, Maiti SN, Thomas G, Zhou S, Wang Q, Elakkad A, Liebelt BD, Yaghi NK, Ezhilarasan R, Huang N, Weinberg JS, Prabhu SS, Rao G, Sawaya R, Langford LA, Bruner JM, Fuller GN, Bar-Or A, Li W, Colen RR, Curran MA, Bhat KP, Antel JP, Cooper LJ, Sulman EP, Heimberger AB. Glioblastoma-infiltrated innate immune cells resemble M0 macrophage phenotype. JCI Insight 1(2), 2016. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 26973881.
- Bartkowiak T, Singh S, Yang G, Galvan G, Haria D, Ai M, Allison JP, Sastry KJ, Curran MA. Unique potential of 4-1BB agonist antibody to promote durable regression of HPV+ tumors when combined with an E6/E7 peptide vaccine. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112(38):E5290-9, 2015. e-Pub 2015. PMID: 26351680.
- Curran MA, Geiger TL, Montalvo W, Kim M, Reiner SL, Al-Shamkhani A, Sun JC, Allison JP. Systemic 4-1BB activation induces a novel T cell phenotype driven by high expression of eomesodermin. J Exp Med 210(4):743-55, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 23547098.
- Mineharu Y, Muhammad AK, Yagiz K, Candolfi M, Kroeger KM, Xiong W, Puntel M, Liu C, Levy E, Lugo C, Kocharian A, Allison JP, Curran MA, Lowenstein PR, Castro MG. Gene therapy-mediated reprogramming tumor infiltrating T cells using IL-2 and inhibiting NF-κB signaling improves the efficacy of immunotherapy in a brain cancer model. Neurotherapeutics 9(4):827-43, 2012. PMID: 22996231.
- Jenq RR, Curran MA, Goldberg GL, Liu C, Allison JP, van den Brink MR. Repertoire enhancement with adoptively transferred female lymphocytes controls the growth of pre-implanted murine prostate cancer. PLoS One 7(4):e35222, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22493742.
- Curran MA, Kim M, Montalvo W, Al-Shamkhani A, Allison JP. Combination CTLA-4 blockade and 4-1BB activation enhances tumor rejection by increasing T-cell infiltration, proliferation, and cytokine production. PLoS One 6(4):e19499, 2011. e-Pub 2011. PMID: 21559358.
- Curran MA, Montalvo W, Yagita H, Allison JP. PD-1 and CTLA-4 combination blockade expands infiltrating T cells and reduces regulatory T and myeloid cells within B16 melanoma tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107(9):4275-80, 2010. e-Pub 2010. PMID: 20160101.
- Curran MA, Allison JP. Tumor vaccines expressing flt3 ligand synergize with ctla-4 blockade to reject preimplanted tumors. Cancer Res 69(19):7747-55, 2009. e-Pub 2009. PMID: 19738077.
- Fenjves ES, Ochoa MS, Cechin S, Gay-Rabinstein C, Pérez-Alvarez I, Ichii H, Mendez A, Ricordi C, Curran MA. Protection of human pancreatic islets using a lentiviral vector expressing two genes: cFLIP and GFP. Cell Transplant 17(7):793-802, 2008. PMID: 19044206.
- Quezada SA, Peggs KS, Curran MA, Allison JP. CTLA4 blockade and GM-CSF combination immunotherapy alters the intratumor balance of effector and regulatory T cells. J Clin Invest 116(7):1935-45, 2006. e-Pub 2006. PMID: 16778987.
- Shai E, Palmon A, Panet A, Marmary Y, Sherman Y, Curran MA, Galun E, Condiotti R. Prolonged transgene expression in murine salivary glands following non-primate lentiviral vector transduction. Mol Ther 12(1):137-43, 2005. PMID: 15963929.
- Condiotti R, Curran MA, Nolan GP, Giladi H, Ketzinel-Gilad M, Gross E, Galun E. Prolonged liver-specific transgene expression by a non-primate lentiviral vector. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 320(3):998-1006, 2004. PMID: 15240147.
- Fenjves ES, Ochoa MS, Gay-Rabinstein C, Ricordi C, Curran MA. Retrovirally transferred genes inhibit apoptosis in an insulin-secreting cell line: implications for islet transplantation. Cell Transplant 13(5):489-96, 2004. PMID: 15565861.
- Price MA, Case SS, Carbonaro DA, Yu XJ, Petersen D, Sabo KM, Curran MA, Engel BC, Margarian H, Abkowitz JL, Nolan GP, Kohn DB, Crooks GM. Expression from second-generation feline immunodeficiency virus vectors is impaired in human hematopoietic cells. Mol Ther 6(5):645-52, 2002. PMID: 12409263.
- Curran MA, Ochoa MS, Molano RD, Pileggi A, Inverardi L, Kenyon NS, Nolan GP, Ricordi C, Fenjves ES. Efficient transduction of pancreatic islets by feline immunodeficiency virus vectors. Transplantation 74(3):299-306, 2002. PMID: 12177606.
- Jaiswal AR, Liu AJ, Pudakalakatti S, Dutta P, Jayaprakash P, Bartkowiak T, Ager CR, Wang ZQ, Reuben A, Cooper ZA, Ivan C, Ju Z, Nwajei F, Wang J, Davies MA, Davis RE, Wargo JA, Bhattacharya PK, Hong DS, Curran MA. Melanoma Evolves Complete Immunotherapy Resistance through the Acquisition of a Hypermetabolic Phenotype. Cancer Immunol Res. e-Pub 2020. PMID: 32917656.
- Ott M, Tomaszowski KH, Marisetty A, Kong LY, Wei J, Duna M, Blumberg K, Ji X, Jacobs CB, Fuller GN, Langford LA, Huse JT, Long JP, Hu J, Li S, Weinberg JS, Prabhu S, Sawaya R, Ferguson SD, Rao G, Lang FF, Curran MA, Heimberger AB. Glioma patient profiling reveals the dominant immune suppressive adenosine axis is refractory to immune function restoration. JCI Insight. e-Pub 2020. PMID: 32721947.
- Liu A, Curran MA. Tumor hypermetabolism confers resistance to immunotherapy. Semin Cancer Biol. e-Pub 2020. PMID: 31982512.
- Callahan MK, Horak CE, Curran MA, Hollman T, Schaer DA, Yuan J, Lesokhin AM, Kitano S, Hong Q, Ariyan CE, Busam KJ, Feely W, Jure-Kunkel M, Grosso J, Simon JS, Korman AJ, Wigginton JM, Gupta AK, Zhang X, Phillips T, Simmons P, Sznol M, Wolchok JD. Peripheral blood and tumor biomarkers in patients with advanced melanoma treated with combination nivolumab (anti-PD-1, BMS-936558, ONO-4538) and ipilimumab. 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (Abstr #004). e-Pub 2013.
- Wolkowicz R, Nolan GP, Curran MA. Lentiviral vectors for the delivery of DNA into mammalian cells. In: Methods Mol Biol. Humana Press: Totowa, NJ, 391-411, 2004.
- Curran MA, Nolan GP. Non-primate lentiviral vectors. In: Lentiviral Vectors. Preinger-Verlag, 75-101, 2002.
- Curran MA, Nolan GP. Recombinant feline immunodeficiency virus vectors: preparation and use. In: Methods Mol Med. Humana Press, 335-50, 2002.
|Title:||High impact, high risk research award: opening the central nervous system to immunotherapy by blocking TREK1|
|Funding Source:||Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)|
|Title:||Immunobiology and translational application of the ThEO/TcEO T cell program|
|Funding Source:||The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Institutional Research Grant (IRG) Program|
|Title:||T cell immune checkpoint combinations for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma|
|Funding Source:||The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Oropharynx Program, Discovery Section|
|Title:||The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center SPORE in Melanoma - Development Research Program (DRP) entitled, “Identifying mechanisms of acquired resistance to immunotherapy”|
|Role:||Principal Investigator, DRP|