Bio

Education & Certifications


  • Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College, Biology (2007)
  • Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Biological Sciences (Genetics) (2008)

Stanford Advisors


Publications

Journal Articles


  • Engineered SIRPa variants as immunotherapeutic adjuvants to anticancer antibodies. Science Weiskopf, K., Ring, A. M., Ho, C. C., Volkmer, J., Levin, A. M., Volkmer, A. K., Ozkan, E., Fernhoff, N. B., van de Rijn, M., Weissman, I. L., Garcia, K. C. 2013; 341 (6141): 88-91

    Abstract

    CD47 is an antiphagocytic signal that cancer cells employ to inhibit macrophage-mediated destruction. Here, we modified the binding domain of human SIRPα, the receptor for CD47, for use as a CD47 antagonist. We engineered high-affinity SIRPα variants with approximately 50,000-fold increased affinity for human CD47 relative to wild-type SIRPα. As high-affinity SIRPα monomers, they potently antagonized CD47 on cancer cells but did not induce macrophage phagocytosis on their own. Instead, they exhibited remarkable synergy with all tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies tested by increasing phagocytosis in vitro and enhancing antitumor responses in vivo. This "one-two punch" directs immune responses against tumor cells while lowering the threshold for macrophage activation, thereby providing a universal method for augmenting the efficacy of therapeutic anticancer antibodies.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1238856

    View details for PubMedID 23722425

  • Anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis of cancer by macrophages primes an effective antitumor T-cell response PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Tseng, D., Volkmer, J., Willingham, S. B., Contreras-Trujillo, H., Fathman, J. W., Fernhoff, N. B., Seita, J., Inlay, M. A., Weiskopf, K., Miyanishi, M., Weissman, I. L. 2013; 110 (27): 11103-11108

    Abstract

    Mobilization of the T-cell response against cancer has the potential to achieve long-lasting cures. However, it is not known how to harness antigen-presenting cells optimally to achieve an effective antitumor T-cell response. In this study, we show that anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis of cancer by macrophages can initiate an antitumor T-cell immune response. Using the ovalbumin model antigen system, anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis of cancer cells by macrophages resulted in increased priming of OT-I T cells [cluster of differentiation 8-positive (CD8(+))] but decreased priming of OT-II T cells (CD4(+)). The CD4(+) T-cell response was characterized by a reduction in forkhead box P3-positive (Foxp3(+)) regulatory T cells. Macrophages following anti-CD47-mediated phagocytosis primed CD8(+) T cells to exhibit cytotoxic function in vivo. This response protected animals from tumor challenge. We conclude that anti-CD47 antibody treatment not only enables macrophage phagocytosis of cancer but also can initiate an antitumor cytotoxic T-cell immune response.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1305569110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321978000057

    View details for PubMedID 23690610

  • Anti-KIT monoclonal antibody inhibits imatinib-resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumor growth PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Edris, B., Willingham, S. B., Weiskopf, K., Volkmer, A. K., Volkmer, J., Muehlenberg, T., Montgomery, K. D., Contreras-Trujillo, H., Czechowicz, A., Fletcher, J. A., West, R. B., Weissman, I. L., van de Rijn, M. 2013; 110 (9): 3501-3506

    Abstract

    Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract and arises from the interstitial cells of Cajal. It is characterized by expression of the receptor tyrosine kinase CD117 (KIT). In 70-80% of GIST cases, oncogenic mutations in KIT are present, leading to constitutive activation of the receptor, which drives the proliferation of these tumors. Treatment of GIST with imatinib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, inhibits KIT-mediated signaling and initially results in disease control in 70-85% of patients with KIT-positive GIST. However, the vast majority of patients eventually develop resistance to imatinib treatment, leading to disease progression and posing a significant challenge in the clinical management of these tumors. Here, we show that an anti-KIT monoclonal antibody (mAb), SR1, is able to slow the growth of three human GIST cell lines in vitro. Importantly, these reductions in cell growth were equivalent between imatinib-resistant and imatinib-sensitive GIST cell lines. Treatment of GIST cell lines with SR1 reduces cell-surface KIT expression, suggesting that mAb-induced KIT down-regulation may be a mechanism by which SR1 inhibits GIST growth. Furthermore, we also show that SR1 treatment enhances phagocytosis of GIST cells by macrophages, indicating that treatment with SR1 may enhance immune cell-mediated tumor clearance. Finally, using two xenotransplantation models of imatinib-sensitive and imatinib-resistant GIST, we demonstrate that SR1 is able to strongly inhibit tumor growth in vivo. These results suggest that treatment with mAbs targeting KIT may represent an alternative, or complementary, approach for treating GIST.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1222893110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315841900062

    View details for PubMedID 23382202

  • Flipping the script on macrophages in leiomyosarcoma ONCOIMMUNOLOGY Edris, B., Weiskopf, K., Weissman, I. L., van de Rijn, M. 2012; 1 (7): 1202-1204

    Abstract

    Macrophages promote the growth of leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a malignant soft-tissue tumor. CD47 on tumor cells binds to the macrophagic receptor signal regulatory protein ? (SIRP?) and prevents phagocytosis. We showed that anti-CD47 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) allow macrophages to engulf LMS cells and prevent tumor growth and metastases. Therefore, anti-CD47 mAbs represent a promising targeted immunotherapy for LMS.

    View details for DOI 10.4161/onci.20799

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316279900033

    View details for PubMedID 23170280

  • A Nonpeptidic Cathepsin S Activity-Based Probe for Noninvasive Optical Imaging of Tumor-Associated Macrophages CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY Verdoes, M., Edgington, L. E., Scheeren, F. A., Leyva, M., Blum, G., Weiskopf, K., Bachmann, M. H., Ellman, J. A., Bogyo, M. 2012; 19 (5): 619-628

    Abstract

    Macrophage infiltration into tumors has been correlated with poor clinical outcome in multiple cancer types. Therefore, tools to image tumor-associated macrophages could be valuable for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. Herein, we describe the synthesis and characterization of a cathepsin S-directed, quenched activity-based probe (qABP), BMV083. This probe makes use of an optimized nonpeptidic scaffold leading to enhanced in vivo properties relative to previously reported peptide-based probes. In a syngeneic breast cancer model, BMV083 provides high tumor-specific fluorescence that can be visualized using noninvasive optical imaging methods. Furthermore, analysis of probe-labeled cells demonstrates that the probe primarily targets macrophages with an M2 phenotype. Thus, BMV083 is a potential valuable in vivo reporter for tumor-associated macrophages that could greatly facilitate the future studies of macrophage function in the process of tumorigenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.03.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304794600013

    View details for PubMedID 22633413

  • Antibody therapy targeting the CD47 protein is effective in a model of aggressive metastatic leiomyosarcoma PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Edris, B., Weiskopf, K., Volkmer, A. K., Volkmer, J., Willingham, S. B., Contreras-Trujillo, H., Liu, J., Majeti, R., West, R. B., Fletcher, J. A., Beck, A. H., Weissman, I. L., van de Rijn, M. 2012; 109 (17): 6656-6661

    Abstract

    Antibodies against CD47, which block tumor cell CD47 interactions with macrophage signal regulatory protein-?, have been shown to decrease tumor size in hematological and epithelial tumor models by interfering with the protection from phagocytosis by macrophages that intact CD47 bestows upon tumor cells. Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a tumor of smooth muscle that can express varying levels of colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF1), the expression of which correlates with the numbers of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) that are found in these tumors. We have previously shown that the presence of TAMs in LMS is associated with poor clinical outcome and the overall effect of TAMs in LMS therefore appears to be protumorigenic. However, the use of inhibitory antibodies against CD47 offers an opportunity to turn TAMs against LMS cells by allowing the phagocytic behavior of resident macrophages to predominate. Here we show that interference with CD47 increases phagocytosis of two human LMS cell lines, LMS04 and LMS05, in vitro. In addition, treatment of mice bearing subcutaneous LMS04 and LMS05 tumors with a novel, humanized anti-CD47 antibody resulted in significant reductions in tumor size. Mice bearing LMS04 tumors develop large numbers of lymph node and lung metastases. In a unique model for neoadjuvant treatment, mice were treated with anti-CD47 antibody starting 1 wk before resection of established primary tumors and subsequently showed a striking decrease in the size and number of metastases. These data suggest that treatment with anti-CD47 antibodies not only reduces primary tumor size but can also be used to inhibit the development of, or to eliminate, metastatic disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1121629109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303249100064

    View details for PubMedID 22451919

  • The CD47-signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPa) interaction is a therapeutic target for human solid tumors PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Willingham, S. B., Volkmer, J., Gentles, A. J., Sahoo, D., Dalerba, P., Mitra, S. S., Wang, J., Contreras-Trujillo, H., Martin, R., Cohen, J. D., Lovelace, P., Scheeren, F. A., Chao, M. P., Weiskopf, K., Tang, C., Volkmer, A. K., Naik, T. J., Storm, T. A., Mosley, A. R., Edris, B., Schmid, S. M., Sun, C. K., Chua, M., Murillo, O., Rajendran, P., Cha, A. C., Chin, R. K., Kim, D., Adorno, M., Raveh, T., Tseng, D., Jaiswal, S., Enger, P. O., Steinberg, G. K., Li, G., So, S. K., Majeti, R., Harsh, G. R., van de Rijn, M., Teng, N. N., Sunwoo, J. B., Alizadeh, A. A., Clarke, M. F., Weissman, I. L. 2012; 109 (17): 6662-6667

    Abstract

    CD47, a "don't eat me" signal for phagocytic cells, is expressed on the surface of all human solid tumor cells. Analysis of patient tumor and matched adjacent normal (nontumor) tissue revealed that CD47 is overexpressed on cancer cells. CD47 mRNA expression levels correlated with a decreased probability of survival for multiple types of cancer. CD47 is a ligand for SIRP?, a protein expressed on macrophages and dendritic cells. In vitro, blockade of CD47 signaling using targeted monoclonal antibodies enabled macrophage phagocytosis of tumor cells that were otherwise protected. Administration of anti-CD47 antibodies inhibited tumor growth in orthotopic immunodeficient mouse xenotransplantation models established with patient tumor cells and increased the survival of the mice over time. Anti-CD47 antibody therapy initiated on larger tumors inhibited tumor growth and prevented or treated metastasis, but initiation of the therapy on smaller tumors was potentially curative. The safety and efficacy of targeting CD47 was further tested and validated in immune competent hosts using an orthotopic mouse breast cancer model. These results suggest all human solid tumor cells require CD47 expression to suppress phagocytic innate immune surveillance and elimination. These data, taken together with similar findings with other human neoplasms, show that CD47 is a commonly expressed molecule on all cancers, its function to block phagocytosis is known, and blockade of its function leads to tumor cell phagocytosis and elimination. CD47 is therefore a validated target for cancer therapies.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1121623109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303249100065

    View details for PubMedID 22451913

  • Stimulation of natural killer cells with a CD137-specific antibody enhances trastuzumab efficacy in xenotransplant models of breast cancer JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Kohrt, H. E., Houot, R., Weiskopf, K., Goldstein, M. J., Scheeren, F., Czerwinski, D., Colevas, A. D., Weng, W., Clarke, M. F., Carlson, R. W., Stockdale, F. E., Mollick, J. A., Chen, L., Levy, R. 2012; 122 (3): 1066-1075

    Abstract

    Trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2; also known as HER-2/neu), is indicated for the treatment of women with either early stage or metastatic HER2(+) breast cancer. It kills tumor cells by several mechanisms, including antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Strategies that enhance the activity of ADCC effectors, including NK cells, may improve the efficacy of trastuzumab. Here, we have shown that upon encountering trastuzumab-coated, HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells, human NK cells become activated and express the costimulatory receptor CD137. CD137 activation, which was dependent on NK cell expression of the Fc?RIII receptor, occurred both in vitro and in the peripheral blood of women with HER2-expressing breast cancer after trastuzumab treatment. Stimulation of trastuzumab-activated human NK cells with an agonistic mAb specific for CD137 killed breast cancer cells (including an intrinsically trastuzumab-resistant cell line) more efficiently both in vitro and in vivo in xenotransplant models of human breast cancer, including one using a human primary breast tumor. The enhanced cytotoxicity was restricted to antibody-coated tumor cells. This sequential antibody strategy, combining a tumor-targeting antibody with a second antibody that activates the host innate immune system, may improve the therapeutic effects of antibodies against breast cancer and other HER2-expressing tumors.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI61226

    View details for Web of Science ID 000301021500029

    View details for PubMedID 22326955

  • CD137 stimulation enhances the antilymphoma activity of anti-CD20 antibodies BLOOD Kohrt, H. E., Houot, R., Goldstein, M. J., Weiskopf, K., Alizadeh, A. A., Brody, J., Mueller, A., Pachynski, R., Czerwinski, D., Coutre, S., Chao, M. P., Chen, L., Tedder, T. F., Levy, R. 2011; 117 (8): 2423-2432

    Abstract

    Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), which is largely mediated by natural killer (NK) cells, is thought to play an important role in the efficacy of rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) used to treat patients with B-cell lymphomas. CD137 is a costimulatory molecule expressed on a variety of immune cells after activation, including NK cells. In the present study, we show that an anti-CD137 agonistic mAb enhances the antilymphoma activity of rituximab by enhancing ADCC. Human NK cells up-regulate CD137 after encountering rituximab-coated tumor B cells, and subsequent stimulation of these NK cells with anti-CD137 mAb enhances rituximab-dependent cytotoxicity against the lymphoma cells. In a syngeneic murine lymphoma model and in a xenotransplanted human lymphoma model, sequential administration of anti-CD20 mAb followed by anti-CD137 mAb had potent antilymphoma activity in vivo. These results support a novel, sequential antibody approach against B-cell malignancies by targeting first the tumor and then the host immune system.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2010-08-301945

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287698800023

    View details for PubMedID 21193697

  • Calreticulin Is the Dominant Pro-Phagocytic Signal on Multiple Human Cancers and Is Counterbalanced by CD47 SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE Chao, M. P., Jaiswal, S., Weissman-Tsukamoto, R., Alizadeh, A. A., Gentles, A. J., Volkmer, J., Weiskopf, K., Willingham, S. B., Raveh, T., Park, C. Y., Majeti, R., Weissman, I. L. 2010; 2 (63)

    Abstract

    Under normal physiological conditions, cellular homeostasis is partly regulated by a balance of pro- and anti-phagocytic signals. CD47, which prevents cancer cell phagocytosis by the innate immune system, is highly expressed on several human cancers including acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and bladder cancer. Blocking CD47 with a monoclonal antibody results in phagocytosis of cancer cells and leads to in vivo tumor elimination, yet normal cells remain mostly unaffected. Thus, we postulated that cancer cells must also display a potent pro-phagocytic signal. Here, we identified calreticulin as a pro-phagocytic signal that was highly expressed on the surface of several human cancers, but was minimally expressed on most normal cells. Increased CD47 expression correlated with high amounts of calreticulin on cancer cells and was necessary for protection from calreticulin-mediated phagocytosis. Blocking the interaction of target cell calreticulin with its receptor, low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein, on phagocytic cells prevented anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis. Furthermore, increased calreticulin expression was an adverse prognostic factor in diverse tumors including neuroblastoma, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These findings identify calreticulin as the dominant pro-phagocytic signal on several human cancers, provide an explanation for the selective targeting of tumor cells by anti-CD47 antibody, and highlight the balance between pro- and anti-phagocytic signals in the immune evasion of cancer.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001375

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288444900003

    View details for PubMedID 21178137

  • Asterless is a scaffold for the onset of centriole assembly NATURE Dzhindzhev, N. S., Yu, Q. D., Weiskopf, K., Tzolovsky, G., Cunha-Ferreira, I., Riparbelli, M., Rodrigues-Martins, A., Bettencourt-Dias, M., Callaini, G., Glover, D. M. 2010; 467 (7316): 714-U104

    Abstract

    Centrioles are found in the centrosome core and, as basal bodies, at the base of cilia and flagella. Centriole assembly and duplication is controlled by Polo-like-kinase 4 (Plk4): these processes fail if Plk4 is downregulated and are promoted by Plk4 overexpression. Here we show that the centriolar protein Asterless (Asl; human orthologue CEP152) provides a conserved molecular platform, the amino terminus of which interacts with the cryptic Polo box of Plk4 whereas the carboxy terminus interacts with the centriolar protein Sas-4 (CPAP in humans). Drosophila Asl and human CEP152 are required for the centrosomal loading of Plk4 in Drosophila and CPAP in human cells, respectively. Depletion of Asl or CEP152 caused failure of centrosome duplication; their overexpression led to de novo centriole formation in Drosophila eggs, duplication of free centrosomes in Drosophila embryos, and centrosome amplification in cultured Drosophila and human cells. Overexpression of a Plk4-binding-deficient mutant of Asl prevented centriole duplication in cultured cells and embryos. However, this mutant protein was able to promote microtubule organizing centre (MTOC) formation in both embryos and oocytes. Such MTOCs had pericentriolar material and the centriolar protein Sas-4, but no centrioles at their core. Formation of such acentriolar MTOCs could be phenocopied by overexpression of Sas-4 in oocytes or embryos. Our findings identify independent functions for Asl as a scaffold for Plk4 and Sas-4 that facilitates self-assembly and duplication of the centriole and organization of pericentriolar material.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature09445

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282572500040

    View details for PubMedID 20852615

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