Brent A. Hanks, MD, PhD

Assistant 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

Zhao, F, Evans, K, Xiao, C, DeVito, N, Theivanthiran, B, Holtzhausen, A, Siska, PJ, Blobe, GC, and Hanks, BA. "Stromal Fibroblasts Mediate Anti-PD-1 Resistance via MMP-9 and Dictate TGFβ Inhibitor Sequencing in Melanoma." Cancer Immunology Research (September 12, 2018).

PMID
30209062
Full Text

Zhao, F, Xiao, C, Evans, KS, Theivanthiran, T, DeVito, N, Holtzhausen, A, Liu, J, Liu, X, Boczkowski, D, Nair, S, Locasale, JW, and Hanks, BA. "Paracrine Wnt5a-β-Catenin Signaling Triggers a Metabolic Program that Drives Dendritic Cell Tolerization." Immunity 48, no. 1 (January 2018): 147-160.e7.

PMID
29343435
Full Text

Gnjatic, S, Bronte, V, Brunet, LR, Butler, MO, Disis, ML, Galon, J, Hakansson, LG, Hanks, BA, Karanikas, V, Khleif, SN, Kirkwood, JM, Miller, LD, Schendel, DJ, Tanneau, I, Wigginton, JM, and Butterfield, LH. "Identifying baseline immune-related biomarkers to predict clinical outcome of immunotherapy." Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer 5 (January 2017): 44-null. (Review)

PMID
28515944
Full Text

Qin, R, Olson, A, Singh, B, Thomas, S, Wolf, S, Bhavsar, NA, Hanks, BA, Salama, JK, and Salama, AKS. "Safety and Efficacy of Radiation Therapy in Advanced Melanoma Patients Treated With Ipilimumab." International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 96, no. 1 (September 2016): 72-77.

PMID
27375168
Full Text

Hanks, BA. "Immune evasion pathways and the design of dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines." Discovery Medicine 21, no. 114 (February 2016): 135-142. (Review)

PMID
27011049
Scholars@Duke

Barina, AR, Bashir, MR, Howard, BA, Hanks, BA, Salama, AK, and Jaffe, TA. "Isolated recto-sigmoid colitis: a new imaging pattern of ipilimumab-associated colitis." Abdominal Radiology (New York) 41, no. 2 (February 2016): 207-214.

PMID
26867901
Full Text

Lowe, JR, Perry, DJ, Salama, AKS, Mathews, CE, Moss, LG, and Hanks, BA. "Genetic risk analysis of a patient with fulminant autoimmune type 1 diabetes mellitus secondary to combination ipilimumab and nivolumab immunotherapy." Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer 4 (January 2016): 89-null.

PMID
28031819
Full Text

Holtzhausen, A, Zhao, F, Evans, KS, Tsutsui, M, Orabona, C, Tyler, DS, and Hanks, BA. "Melanoma-Derived Wnt5a Promotes Local Dendritic-Cell Expression of IDO and Immunotolerance: Opportunities for Pharmacologic Enhancement of Immunotherapy." Cancer Immunology Research 3, no. 9 (September 2015): 1082-1095.

PMID
26041736
Full Text

Hanks, BA, Zhao, F, Evans, K, Holtzhausen, A, Tsutsui, M, and Tyler, D. "Targeting the Wnt5a-beta-catenin pathway in the melanoma microenvironment to augment checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy." Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Clinical-Oncology (ASCO) / Clinical Science Symposium on Predicting and Improving Adverse Outcomes in Older Adults with Cancer. Chicago, IL. May 29, 2015 - June 2, 2015.: AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, May 20, 2015.

Scholars@Duke

Bostwick, AD, Salama, AK, and Hanks, BA. "Rapid complete response of metastatic melanoma in a patient undergoing ipilimumab immunotherapy in the setting of active ulcerative colitis." Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer 3 (January 2015): 19-null.

PMID
25992290
Full Text

Pages