University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Walter Storkus, PhD

Walter Storkus
Professor of Dermatology, Immunology, Bioengineering and Pathology

Contact Information

Contact Information

W1041.2 BST
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-383-8643
Email: storkuswj@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-383-5857

Administrative Assistant
Name: Cindy McIntyre
Phone: 412-648-9980
Email: mcinca@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-383-5857

Research Keywords

Research Keywords

Tumor biology; cancer vaccines; immunotherapy; gene therapy; dendritic cells; melanoma; renal cell carcinoma

Research Summary

Research Summary


Formation of ectopic lymphoid tissue in murine tumors injected with DC. Tbet cells from Front Immunol. 2013 Nov 29;4:388

Our laboratory research focuses on the study of tumor immunobiology and designing immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Our translational murine models and human in vitro studies are intended to serve as a foundation for the development of phase I/II clinical trials of modalities that can more effectively treat patients with melanoma or renal cell carcinoma. Such modalities include dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines, cytokine gene-modified DC injected directly into tumor lesions, and combinational approaches integrating agents that modulate tumor cell immune recognition (i.e., HSP90 inhibitors) or alter the balance of Type-1 versus regulatory immunity in the tumor microenvironment (i.e., sunitinib). Most recently, we have discovered that immune targeting of the tumor-associated vasculature occurs naturally as a consequence of effective immunotherapy (via DC1-based cross-priming of T cells), and that vaccines based on tumor-associated blood antigens (TBVA) can promote tumor regression even in cases where cancer cells cannot be directly recognized by the protective CD8+ immune system. We have also determined that anti-angiogenic agents such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitors sunitinib, axitinib and dasatinib all lead to tumor vascular normalization and to the improved delivery of anti-TBVA T cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME) allowing for improved anti-tumor efficacy. This has most recently resulted in the development of our NIH-supported clinical trial UPCI 12-048 “A Randomized Phase II Pilot Study of Type I-Polarized Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccines Incorporating Tumor Blood Vessel Antigen (TBVA)-Derived Peptides in Combination with Dasatinib in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma” (H. Tawbi, Clinical PI) that is currently accruing patients.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Lowe DB, Bose A, Taylor JL, Tawbi H, Lin Y, Kirkwood JM, Storkus WJ. Dasatinib promotes the expansion of a therapeutically superior T-cell repertoire in response to dendritic cell vaccination against melanoma. Oncoimmunology. 2014 Jan 1;3(1):e27589. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Chen L, Fabian KL, Taylor JL, Storkus WJ. Therapeutic use of dendritic cells to promote the extranodal priming of anti-tumor immunity. Front Immunol. 2013 Nov 29;4:388. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Chi Sabins N, Taylor JL, Fabian KP, Appleman LJ, Maranchie JK, Stolz DB, Storkus WJ. DLK1: a novel target for immunotherapeutic remodeling of the tumor blood vasculature. Mol Ther. 2013 Oct;21(10):1958-68. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Chen L, Taylor JL, Sabins NC, Lowe DB, Qu Y, You Z, Storkus WJ. Extranodal induction of therapeutic immunity in the tumor microenvironment after intratumoral delivery of Tbet gene-modified dendritic cells. Cancer Gene Ther. 2013 Aug;20(8):469-77. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Bose A, Barik S, Banerjee S, Ghosh T, Mallick A, Bhattacharyya Majumdar S, Goswami KK, Bhuniya A, Banerjee S, Baral R, Storkus WJ, Dasgupta PS, Majumdar S. Tumor-derived vascular pericytes anergize Th cells. J Immunol. 2013 Jul 15;191(2):971-81. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Janelsins BM, Sumpter TL, Tkacheva OA, Rojas-Canales DM, Erdos G, Mathers AR, Shufesky WJ, Storkus WJ, Falo LD Jr, Morelli AE, Larregina AT. Neurokinin-1 receptor agonists bias therapeutic dendritic cells to induce type 1 immunity by licensing host dendritic cells to produce IL-12. Blood. 2013 Apr 11;121(15):2923-33. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Cohen PA, Ko JS, Storkus WJ, Spencer CD, Bradley JM, Gorman JE, McCurry DB, Zorro-Manrique S, Dominguez AL, Pathangey LB, Rayman PA, Rini BI, Gendler SJ, Finke JH. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells adhere to physiologic STAT3- vs STAT5-dependent hematopoietic programming, establishing diverse tumor-mediated mechanisms of immunologic escape. Immunol Invest. 2012;41(6-7):680-710. PubMed Link
  • Rao A, Taylor JL, Chi-Sabins N, Kawabe M, Gooding WE, Storkus WJ. Combination therapy with HSP90 inhibitor 17-DMAG reconditions the tumor microenvironment to improve recruitment of therapeutic T cells. Cancer Res. 2012 Jul 1;72(13):3196-206. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Zhao X, Bose A, Komita H, Taylor JL, Chi N, Lowe DB, Okada H, Cao Y, Mukhopadhyay D, Cohen PA, Storkus WJ. Vaccines targeting tumor blood vessel antigens promote CD8+ T cell-dependent tumor eradication or dormancy in HLA-A2 transgenic mice. J Immunol. 2012 Feb 15;188(4):1782-8. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF
  • Zhao X, Bose A, Komita H, Taylor JL, Kawabe M, Chi N, Spokas L, Lowe DB, Goldbach C, Alber S, Watkins SC, Butterfield LH, Kalinski P, Kirkwood JM, Storkus WJ. Intratumoral IL-12 gene therapy results in the crosspriming of Tc1 cells reactive against tumor-associated stromal antigens. Mol Ther. 2011 Apr;19(4):805-14. PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: CTIF

See all pubs (Pubmed)

Collaborations

Collaborations

Current UPCI/Pitt Collaborators

Leonard Appleman, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Member - Cancer Therapeutics Program (CTP)

Robert Binder, PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)

Lisa Butterfield, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Surgery and Immunology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

Louis Falo, MD, PhD
Professor and Chairman of Dermatology
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

William Gooding, MS
Senior Biostatistician
Member - Head and Neck Cancer Program (HNCP)

Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD
Professor of Surgery and Immunology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)

John Kirkwood, MD
Usher Professor of Medicine, Dermatology & Translational Science
Co-Leader - Melanoma Program (MP)

Adriana Larregina, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Dermatology and Immunology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)

Yan Lin, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

Jodi Maranchie, MD
Assistant Professor of Urology

Alicia Mathers, PhD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Immunology

Adrian Morelli, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Surgery and Immunology

Donna Stolz, PhD
Associate Professor of Cell Biology

Hussein Tawbi, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Clinical & Translational Science
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

Simon Watkins, PhD
Professor and Vice Chairman of Cell Biology
Member - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Theresa Whiteside, PhD
Professor of Pathology, Immunology and Otolaryngology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)

Zhaoyang You, PhD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Immunology

Current External Collaborators

Anamika Bose, PhD
Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine
Bose Institute, Kolkata, India

Peter Cohen, MD, PhD
Professor of Hematology/Oncology
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale

Alan Epstein, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology
University of Southern California

James Finke, PhD
Professor of Immunology
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Brian Rini, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

UPCI Shared Resource Usage

UPCI Shared Resource Usage

  • Animal Facility
  • Biostatistics Facility
  • Cancer Bioinformatics Services
  • Cell and Tissue Imaging Facility
  • Cytometry Facility
  • IMCPL
  • In Vivo Imaging Facility
  • Tissue and Research Pathology Services

Affiliated Graduate Programs

Affiliated Graduate Programs

  • Bioengineering
  • Immunology
  • Integrative Molecular Biology

Department Website









Last modified: 6/17/14