Brent A. Hanks, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 308 Research Drive, Lsrc, Room C203, Durham, NC 27708
Phone (919) 684-1995
Email address hanks004@mc.duke.edu

My lab is interested in elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in tumor-mediated immune suppression and cancer immunotherapy resistance. Our overriding hypothesis is that tumor cells and/or their associated stromal elements elicit soluble factors that tolerize local dendritic cell populations and/or recruit other immunosuppressive cell populations to the tumor bed; thereby, interfering with the generation of an effective anti-tumor immune response. This work has both basic and translational significance in that it is capable of providing 1. novel pharmacological targets for enhancing anti-tumor immunity and 2.  much needed biomarkers for guiding the management of cancer patients with immunotherapies.  We perform these investigations utilizing both transgenic murine models as well as clinical specimens derived from cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy.  We focus these studies on melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer. 

We currently have the following ongoing projects in our lab:
1.  Investigating mechanisms by which developing cancers alter the metabolism of local dendritic cells thereby hijacking this antigen-presenting cell population to generate an immunotolerant tumor microenvironment. 
2.  Identifying soluble factors expressed by cancers which manipulate local dendritic cell function to drive regulatory T cell  differentiation within the tumor microenvironment as well as any potential oncogenic signaling pathways driving this process.
3.  Characterizing mechanisms of innate and adaptive resistance mechanisms to checkpoint inhibitor therapies.
4.  Examining the role of the tumor stroma in interfering with immunotherapy efficacy.
5.  Design and development of novel dendritic cell-based vaccine strategies

Education and Training

  • Fellowship, Hematology/Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine, 2008 - 2012
  • Internship and Residency, Internal Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, 2006 - 2008
  • M.D., Baylor College of Medicine, 2006
  • Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, 2004

Publications

Isaacs, James, Aaron C. Tan, Brent A. Hanks, Xiaofei Wang, Kouros Owzar, James E. Herndon, Scott J. Antonia, Steven Piantadosi, and Mustafa Khasraw. “Clinical Trials with Biologic Primary Endpoints in Immuno-oncology: Concepts and Usage.” Clin Cancer Res, July 26, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-1593.

PMID
34312214
Full Text

DeVito, Nicholas C., Michael Sturdivant, Balamayooran Thievanthiran, Christine Xiao, Michael P. Plebanek, April K. S. Salama, Georgia M. Beasley, et al. “Pharmacological Wnt ligand inhibition overcomes key tumor-mediated resistance pathways to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy.” Cell Rep 35, no. 5 (May 4, 2021): 109071. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109071.

PMID
33951424
Full Text

Atkins, Michael B., Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, David E. Fisher, Susan M. Swetter, Hensin Tsao, Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, Maria S. Soengas, et al. “The State of Melanoma: Emergent Challenges and Opportunities.” Clinical Cancer Research : An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 27, no. 10 (May 2021): 2678–97. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-20-4092.

PMID
33414132
Full Text

Nghiem, Paul, Shailender Bhatia, Evan J. Lipson, William H. Sharfman, Ragini R. Kudchadkar, Andrew S. Brohl, Philip A. Friedlander, et al. “Three-year survival, correlates and salvage therapies in patients receiving first-line pembrolizumab for advanced Merkel cell carcinoma.” J Immunother Cancer 9, no. 4 (April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002478.

PMID
33879601
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Strickler, John H., Brent A. Hanks, and Mustafa Khasraw. “Tumor Mutational Burden as a Predictor of Immunotherapy Response: Is More Always Better?” Clin Cancer Res 27, no. 5 (March 1, 2021): 1236–41. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3054.

PMID
33199494
Full Text

Salama, April K. S., Manisha Palta, Christel N. Rushing, M Angelica Selim, Kristen N. Linney, Brian G. Czito, David S. Yoo, et al. “Ipilimumab and Radiation in Patients with High-risk Resected or Regionally Advanced Melanoma.” Clin Cancer Res 27, no. 5 (March 1, 2021): 1287–95. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2452.

PMID
33172894
Full Text

Beasley, Georgia M., Aaron D. Therien, Eda K. Holl, Rami Al-Rohil, Maria Angelica Selim, Nellie E. Farrow, Liuliu Pan, et al. “Dissecting the immune landscape of tumor draining lymph nodes in melanoma with high-plex spatially resolved protein detection.” Cancer Immunol Immunother 70, no. 2 (February 2021): 475–83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02698-2.

PMID
32814992
Full Text

DeVito, Nicholas C., Colm Kelleher, Kyle C. Strickland, James Abbruzzese, Carey Anders, Brent A. Hanks, Jingquan Jia, et al. “A case report of microsatellite instability (MSI)-high, HER2 amplified pancreatic adenocarcinoma with central nervous system metastasis.” Ame Case Rep 5 (2021): 14. https://doi.org/10.21037/acr-20-154.

PMID
33912803
Full Text

Bhardwaj, N., P. A. Friedlander, A. C. Pavlick, M. S. Ernstoff, B. R. Gastman, B. A. Hanks, B. D. Curti, et al. “Flt3 ligand augments immune responses to anti-DEC-205-NY-ESO-1 vaccine through expansion of dendritic cell subsets.” Nature Cancer 1, no. 12 (December 1, 2020): 1204–17. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43018-020-00143-y.

Full Text

Ravichandran, Surya, Neel Nath, David C. Jones, Gabriel Li, Visakha Suresh, Adam K. Brys, Brent A. Hanks, et al. “The utility of initial staging PET-CT as a baseline scan for surveillance imaging in stage II and III melanoma.” Surg Oncol 35 (December 2020): 533–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.suronc.2020.10.018.

PMID
33161362
Full Text

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