About Dr. Battula
Dr. V. Lokesh Battula received his Ph.D. degree from Justus Liebig University in Germany and did his postdoctoral fellowship at University of Tübingen, Germany and MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Dr. Battula’s research is focused on understanding the role of stem-like cells in cancer. His group is interested in cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are highly metastatic and resistant to conventional chemotherapy. Dr. Battula discovered GD2 and GD3 Synthase as a unique marker to identify CSCs from primary breast tumors and cell lines. Dr. Battula is interested in developing tools for targeting these unique markers in CSCs and further develop them for therapeutic applications. Dr. Battula is also interested in understanding the metabolic processes that regulate the expression of GD2 as well as the function of CSCs in primary tumors. Another unique feature of CSCs is to escape from immune surveillance. Immune-checkpoint proteins that are highly expressed in cancer cells play a crucial role in the inhibition of immune cells Dr. Battula is interested in identification and targeting of immune checkpoint proteins in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. He is developing therapeutic antibodies against immune checkpoint proteins that could be used to treat cancer patients. Overall, Dr. Battula’s lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms contributing chemo-resistance, tumor initiation and metastasis of cancer stem cells. Besides, Dr. Battula is developing novel therapeutic tools to target immune-checkpoint proteins in cancer cells and activate NK/T cells against cancer cells.
Assistant Professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Dr. Battula’s research is focused on understanding the role of stem cells in cancer. In this regard, he has identified several markers including FZD9, CD140b, tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) in combination with other cell surface for prospective isolation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from human bone marrow and placenta. In most tumor types, MSCs support tumor growth and induce chemo-resistance in cancer cells. His current research is focused on understanding the role of tumor-stroma interactions in chemo-resistance of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. He aims to identify molecular targets that could be used in the development of novel therapeutic strategies for leukemia patients.
Dr. Battula’s research is also focused on targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs), a rare population of cells present in the primary tumor that are drug resistant and primary cause of disease relapse. He discovered unique markers including ganglioside GD2 and GD3 synthase to identify/isolate CSCs from primary breast tumors (Battula et al., JCI, 2012). Dr. Battula is currently developing tools for targeting CSCs using these unique markers which ultimately could be used for breast cancer therapy. In addition, he is also interested in understanding the origin of CSCs in primary tumor. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to induce stem cell phenotype by up-regulation of GD2 in cancer cells. He aims to target EMT in cancer cells to inhibit generation of drug resistant GD2+ CSCs in the primary tumors.
Broadly, Dr. Battula is interested in understanding the mechanisms contributing chemo-resistance, self-renewal and metastasis of cancer cells. He further aims to target stroma-mediated chemo-resistance in cancer cells by interfering in trumor-stroma interactions.
|2006||Justus Liebig University, Giessen, DEU, Ph.D, Human Cell Biology|
|2000||Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, IND, M.Sc, Biotechnology|
|1998||Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, IND, B.Sc, Botany, Biochemistry and Biotechnology|
|2007-2012||Postdoctoral Fellow, Tumor microenvironment, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX|
|2006-2007||Postdoctoral Fellow, Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells, University of Tubingen, Tubingen|
Instructor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2012 - 2013
Research Assistant, Rajiv Gandhi Center For Biotechnology, Trivandrum, 2001 - 2002
Research Assistant, Department of Biochemistry, Division of Basic Science Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 2000 - 2001
|2012||2012 Division of Cancer Medicine Research Awards, 1st place, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center|
|2012||Travel Award, Arnold Foundation|
|2008||Bristol-Myers Squibb Award in Clinical Translational Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb|
- Kornblau SM, Ruvolo PP, Wang RY, Battula VL, Shpall EJ, Ruvolo VR, McQueen T, Qui Y, Zeng Z, Pierce S, Jacamo R, Yoo SY, Le PM, Sun J, Hail N, Konopleva M, Andreeff M. Distinct protein signatures of acute myeloid leukemia bone marrow-derived stromal cells are prognostic for patient survival. Haematologica 103(5):810-821, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 29545342.
- Vantaku V, Donepudi SR, Ambati CR, Jin F, Putluri V, Nguyen K, Rajapakshe K, Coarfa C, Battula VL, Lotan Y, Putluri N. Expression of ganglioside GD2, reprogram the lipid metabolism and EMT phenotype in bladder cancer. Oncotarget 8(56):95620-95631, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 29221154.
- Nguyen K, Battula VL. Targeting NFκB signaling in GD2(+) BCSCs. Aging (Albany NY) 9(8):1847-1848, 2017. PMID: 28858852.
- Battula VL, Nguyen K, Sun J, Pitner MK, Yuan B, Bartholomeusz C, Hail N, Andreeff M. IKK Inhibition by BMS-345541 Suppresses Breast Tumorigenesis and Metastases by Targeting GD2+ Cancer Stem Cells. Oncotarget 8(23):36936-36949, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28415808.
- Sphyris N, Sarkar TR, Battula VL, Andreeff M, Mani SA. GD2 and GD3 synthase: novel drug targets for cancer therapy. Mol Cell Oncol 2(3):e975068, 2015. e-Pub 2015. PMID: 27308452.
- Sarkar TR, Battula VL, Werden SJ, Vijay GV, Ramirez-Peña EQ, Taube JH, Chang JT, Miura N, Porter W, Sphyris N, Andreeff M, Mani SA. GD3 synthase regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis in breast cancer. Oncogene 34(23):2958-67, 2015. e-Pub 2014. PMID: 25109336.
- Jacamo R, Chen Y, Wang Z, Ma W, Zhang M, Spaeth EL, Wang Y, Battula VL, Mak PY, Schallmoser K, Ruvolo P, Schober WD, Shpall EJ, Nguyen MH, Strunk D, Bueso-Ramos CE, Konoplev S, Davis RE, Konopleva M, Andreeff M. Reciprocal leukemia-stroma VCAM-1/VLA-4-dependent activation of NF-κB mediates chemoresistance. Blood 123(17):2691-702, 2014. e-Pub 2014. PMID: 24599548.
- Lu H, Kojima K, Battula VL, Korchin B, Shi Y, Chen Y, Spong S, Thomas DA, Kantarjian H, Lock RB, Andreeff M, Konopleva M. Targeting connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia preclinical models: anti-CTGF monoclonal antibody attenuates leukemia growth. Ann Hematol 93(3):485-92, 2014. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 24154679.
- Battula VL, Chen Y, Cabreira Mda G, Ruvolo V, Wang Z, Ma W, Konoplev S, Shpall E, Lyons K, Strunk D, Bueso-Ramos C, Davis RE, Konopleva M, Andreeff M. Connective tissue growth factor regulates adipocyte differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells and facilitates leukemia bone marrow engraftment. Blood 122(3):357-66, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 23741006.
- Hollier BG, Tinnirello AA, Werden SJ, Evans KW, Taube JH, Sarkar TR, Sphyris N, Shariati M, Kumar SV, Battula VL, Herschkowitz JI, Guerra R, Chang JT, Miura N, Rosen JM, Mani SA. FOXC2 expression links epithelial-mesenchymal transition and stem cell properties in breast cancer. Cancer Res 73(6):1981-92, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 23378344.
- Battula VL, Shi Y, Evans KW, Wang RY, Spaeth EL, Jacamo RO, Guerra R, Sahin AA, Marini FC, Hortobagyi G, Mani SA, Andreeff M. Ganglioside GD2 identifies breast cancer stem cells and promotes tumorigenesis. J Clin Invest 122(6):2066-78, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22585577.
- Chen Y, Jacamo R, Shi YX, Wang RY, Battula VL, Konoplev S, Strunk D, Hofmann NA, Reinisch A, Konopleva M, Andreeff M. Human extramedullary bone marrow in mice: a novel in vivo model of genetically controlled hematopoietic microenvironment. Blood 119(21):4971-80, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22490334.
- Battula VL, Evans KW, Hollier BG, Shi Y, Marini FC, Ayyanan A, Wang RY, Brisken C, Guerra R, Andreeff M, Mani SA. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition-derived cells exhibit multilineage differentiation potential similar to mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cells 28(8):1435-45, 2010. PMID: 20572012.
- Kidd S, Spaeth E, Dembinski JL, Dietrich M, Watson K, Klopp A, Battula VL, Weil M, Andreeff M, Marini FC. Direct evidence of mesenchymal stem cell tropism for tumor and wounding microenvironments using in vivo bioluminescent imaging. Stem Cells 27(10):2614-23, 2009. PMID: 19650040.
- Battula VL, Treml S, Bareiss PM, Gieseke F, Roelofs H, de Zwart P, Müller I, Schewe B, Skutella T, Fibbe WE, Kanz L, Bühring HJ. Isolation of functionally distinct mesenchymal stem cell subsets using antibodies against CD56, CD271, and mesenchymal stem cell antigen-1. Haematologica 94(2):173-84, 2009. e-Pub 2008. PMID: 19066333.
- Battula VL, Treml S, Abele H, Bühring HJ. Prospective isolation and characterization of mesenchymal stem cells from human placenta using a frizzled-9-specific monoclonal antibody. Differentiation 76(4):326-36, 2008. e-Pub 2007. PMID: 17924962.
- Bühring HJ, Battula VL, Treml S, Schewe B, Kanz L, Vogel W. Novel markers for the prospective isolation of human MSC. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1106:262-71, 2007. e-Pub 2007. PMID: 17395729.
- Battula VL, Bareiss PM, Treml S, Conrad S, Albert I, Hojak S, Abele H, Schewe B, Just L, Skutella T, Bühring HJ. Human placenta and bone marrow derived MSC cultured in serum-free, b-FGF-containing medium express cell surface frizzled-9 and SSEA-4 and give rise to multilineage differentiation. Differentiation 75(4):279-91, 2007. e-Pub 2006. PMID: 17288545.
- Nguyen K, Yan Y, Yuan B, Dasgupta A, Sun JC, Mu H, Do KA, Ueno NT, Andreeff M, Battula VL. ST8SIA1 regulates tumor growth and metastasis in TNBC by activating the FAK-AKT-mTOR signaling pathway. Mol Cancer Ther 17(12). e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30237308.
- Le PM, Andreeff M, Battula VL. Osteogenic niche in the regulation of normal hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis. Haematologica 103(12). e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30337364.
- Battula VL, Le PM, Sun JC, Nguyen K, Yuan B, Zhou X, Sonnylal S, McQueen T, Ruvolo V, Michel KA, Ling X, Jacamo R, Shpall E, Wang Z, Rao A, Al-Atrash G, Konopleva M, Davis RE, Harrington MA, Cahill CW, Bueso-Ramos C, Andreeff M. AML-induced osteogenic differentiation in mesenchymal stromal cells supports leukemia growth. JCI Insight 2(13). e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28679949.
|Title:||Targeting Breast Cancer Stem Cells|
|Funding Source:||Breast Cancer Research Foundation|
|Title:||The Therapy of AML|
|Title:||Regulation and Targeting of GD2+ Breast Cancer Stem Cells|
|Title:||Targeting cMet in the Micro-environment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells|
|Title:||Molecular Mechanisms Regulating GD2+ Breast Cancer Stem Cells|
|Funding Source:||MDACC IRG|
|Title:||The Therapy of AML - Project 1|
|Title:||CDP: Targeting Leukemia-Stroma Interactions in AML Therapy|
|Title:||CPRIT MIRA Project 1 - Targeting AML in the Hypoxic Microenvironment|
|Funding Source:||Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)|
|Title:||Investigating the Role of Osteogenic Niche in the AML Bone Marrow Microenvironment|
|Title:||ANTI-GD2 THERAPY IN BREAST CANCER PREVENTION|
|Funding Source:||United Therapeutics Corporation|
|Title:||The Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Research Award|
|Funding Source:||Baylor College of Medicine|
|Title:||CDP: Targeting Microenvironment-induced Leukemic Stem Cells in Acute Myeloid Leukemia|
|Role:||CDA Principal Investigator|
|Title:||Targeting GD3 synthase (ST8SIA1) in GD2+ breast cancer stem-like cells to prevent tumor growth and metastases in triple negative breast cancer|
|Funding Source:||DOD/Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DOD/CDMRP)|
|Title:||Targeting Immune Checkpoint protein B7-H3 (CD276) in Acute Myeloid Leukemia|
|Funding Source:||Leukemia and Lymphoma Society|
|Title:||Targeting immune checkpoint protein B7-H3 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia|
|Funding Source:||Golfers Against Cancer|
|Title:||Targeting AML-induced osteogenic bone marrow microenvironment to sensitize AML cells to chemotherapy|
|Funding Source:||Mike Hogg Foundation|
|Title:||Targeting stroma-induced stem cell-like phenotype in AML bone marrow microenvironment|
|Funding Source:||Cure Sonia Foundation|
|Title:||Targeting TGF-β signaling to inhibit stroma-induced chemoresistance in AML bone marrow microenvironment|
|Funding Source:||Golfer Against Cancer Foundation|
|Title:||Targeting B7-H3 (CD276)-mediated immunomodulatory function in AML using novel monoclonal antibodies|
|Funding Source:||Emerson Collective|