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    Michael J Spinella

    Associate Professor, Comparative Biosciences

    Address and Contact Information

    2001 S. Lincoln Avenue
    M/C 002
    Urbana, IL  61802

    Education

    PhD, Albany Medical College

    Postdoctoral training in molecular therapeutics at Medical College of Virginia and the Massey Cancer Center

    Academic Positions

    Instructor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

    Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

    Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

    Investigator at Norris Cotton Cancer Center

    Research Interests

    My research is focused on molecular mechanisms of cancer therapy and mechanism of chemoresistance. Research is focused on uncovering mechanisms that account for the curability of testicular germ cell tumors in order to apply this knowledge to the design of novel therapies for common solid tumors refractory to current therapy. Other interests include the concept of induced differentiation therapy and the identification of mechanistic links between stem cell pluripotency and cancer.

    My lab has made several key contributions to understanding transcriptional mechanisms linked to the retinoic acid induced differentiation of testicular cancer and to the curability and resistance of testicular cancer through global gene expression and genome-wide analysis. This includes our finding that testicular cancer cells display a hyperactive p53 response to chemotherapy that is tightly linked to their curability. The goal of the lab is to leverage this information toward success in treating other solid tumors including glioblastoma and breast cancer.

    Recently my lab has made the discovery that testicular germ cell tumors, even those resistant to cisplatin, highly overexpress DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and have increased sensitivity to very low doses of DNA demethylating agents compared to somatic cancer cells. This work has provided the rationale for ongoing phase I and planned phase II clinical trials being conducted with collaborators at Indiana University Medical School. Our current working model is that testicular cancer cells possess unique epigenetic states that are tightly linked to the biology of this disease. Understanding these mechanisms will inform epigenetic-based therapies for refractory testicular cancers and other solid tumors.

    Professional Affiliations

    American Association for the Advancement of Science

    The American Association for Cancer Research

    American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

    Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

    Patents

    Thomas T. Andersen, Michael J Spinella, Endothelin antagonists. US Patent #5492892T
    Michael J. Spinella, Maroun J. Beyrouthy, Compositions for inhibiting growth of cancer stem cells. US Patent #20120156312
    Michael J. Spinella, Maroun J. Beyrouthy, Method and kit for determining sensitivity to decitabine treatment. US Patent #20130023439
    Michael J. Spinella, Maroun J. Beyrouthy, Method for determining sensitivity to decitabine treatment. US Patent #20150197813
    Michael J. Spinella, Ph.D.
    20
    Michael J. Spinella, Maroun J. Beyrouthy, Method for identifying and inhibiting growth of chemotherapeutic-resistant cancers. US Patent #20150174163

    Selected Service Activities

    • Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Editorial Board Member, 2009-present
    • Current Pharmacology, Editorial Board Member, 2014-present
    • Translational Oncogenomics, Editorial Board Member, 2006-present;  Editor and Chief, 2009-2014
    • Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Editorial Board Member, 2010-present
    • NIH Peer Review Committee:  Fellowship Panel, 2014-2016
    • US Army Breast Cancer Research Program Review Committee, 2000-2016
    • NIH Peer Review Committee: Prevention, Control and Population Sciences, 2008-2010
    • NIH Peer Review Committee: Cancer Genetics, 2010, 2016
    • VA Oncology Merit Review Panel, 2013-2016
    • Empire State Stem Cell Review Panel, 2010-2013
    • American Institute for Cancer Research Peer Review Committee, 2006-2011
    • American Cancer Society Peer Review Committee, 2000-2005

    Honors and Awards

    1989-1991, National Research Service Award Predoctoal Fellowship
    1991, American Physiology Society, Proctor and Gamble Research Award, FASEB
    1992, National Research Service Award, Doctoral Fellowship National Cancer Institute
    1998-2003, NIH Howard Temin Award, National Cancer Institute
    2002, Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics to Host the New England Pharmacologists Meeting, Dartmouth Medical School
    2004, Dean’s Faculty Excellence Award for Translational Research, Dartmouth Medical School

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