Vlad Research Group

Principal Investigator: Anda Vlad, MD, PhD

The Vlad Lab has recently generated valuable preclinical models for endometriosis and ovarian cancer using double and triple transgenic mice, respectively. The lesions in mice closely mimic those found in humans and express the human MUC1 tumor-associated antigen, a protein that can promote tumor formation.

MUC1 has been tested in numerous worldwide clinical trials as a cancer vaccine candidate. Using new animal models, MUC1 roles in ovarian tumor formation can be idenitified and a new MUC1 vaccine as therapy in ovarian cancer can be tested. Furthermore, novel MUC1 vaccines can also be tested for their potential in cancer prevention in mice with cancer predisposing-lesions (endometriosis).

Proposing to identify immune biomarker discovery for disease management of endometriosis and ovarian cancer, the lab is investigating numerous questions about immune surveillance in women with these diseases. Via collaborations with our clinician colleagues at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, the lab is working on implementing new clinical trials exploring the roles of novel immune biologics as adjuvant therapy in ovarian cancer.

Lab Members

Raluca Budiu, PhD

Post-Doctoral Associate
Transgenic mouse model of endometriosis and ovarian cancer.
Phone: 412-641-2986

Joan Brozick

Research Associate
Investigation of the ovarian cells signaling and immune interactions, and running a flow cytometry core.
Phone: 412-641-6106

Swati Suryawanshi, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate

Phone: 412-641-6270

Lab Alumni

Jessica Craig, BS

University of South Florida, Tampa FL.
PhD candidate in cancer biology, Moffett Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.

Kathryn McCabe

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.
Expected graduation: BS degree 2012.

Emily Ott

Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Pre-med/chemistry.
Expected graduation: BS degree 2013.

Selected Publications

  • Budiu R, Diaconu I, Dricu A, & Vlad AM. Modulation of human mucin 1 (MUC1) tumor-associated antigen in a syngeneic, transplantable, ovarian cancer transgenic mouse model. Biol and Therapy of Cancer Cell, 2010 (in press).
  • Budiu R, Diaconu I, Chrissluis R, Dricu A, Edwards RP, Finn OJ, & Vlad AM. Mice progressing to human mucin 1 (MUC1)-positive ovarian endometriosis-like lesions develop anti-MUC1 antibodies and show increased Foxp3 positive T cells in regional lymph nodes. Dis Model Mech, 2(11-12):593-603, Nov.-Dec., 2009.
  • Vlad, AM,Budiu R, Thaller J, Finn OJ, & Edwards, RP. Immune monitoring of ovarian cancer patients treated with intraperitoneal IL-2 shows correlations of serum anti-MUC1 antibodies. Cancer Immunol Immunother, Aug. 19, 2009 [Epub ahead of print].
  • Ryan SO, Vlad A, Jean Gariépy, & Finn OJ. Tumor-associated glycopeptides of the tumor antigen MUC1 are not subject to self-tolerance and improves immune responsiveness in the MUC1 transgenic mouse. Biol Chem,390(7):611-8, Jul. 2009.
  • Vlad A, Diaconu I, & Gantt, KR. MUC1 in endometriosis and ovarian cancer. Immunol Res, 36(1): 229-36, 2006.
  • Correa I, Plunkett T, Vlad A, Mungul A, Candelora-Kettel J, Burchell JM, Taylor-Papadimitriou J, & Finn OJ. Form and pattern of MUC1 expression on T cells activated in vivo or in vitro suggests a function in T-cell migration. Immunol, 108(1): 32-41, 2003.
  • Vlad A, Kettel J, Alajez N, Carlos C, & Finn OJ.Review articleMUC1 Immunobiology: From discovery to clinical applications”.Adv Immunol, 82: 249-93, 2003.
  • Vlad A, Muller S, Cudic M, Paulsen H, Otvos L, Georg-Hanisch F, & Finn O. Complex Glycans remain intact during the processing of MUC1 glycopeptides by dendritic cells and affect T cell recognition of MHC class II-restricted peptides. J Exp Med, 196(11): 1435-46, 2002.

Publications on PubMed

View Publications on PubMed