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

Hanks, Brent Allen, Alisha Holtzhausen, Kathy Evans, Michelle Heid, and Gerard C. Blobe. “Combinatorial TGF-β signaling blockade and anti-CTLA-4 antibody immunotherapy in a murine BRAFV600E-PTEN-/- transgenic model of melanoma.” In Journal of Clinical Oncology, 32:3011–3011. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 2014. https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2014.32.15_suppl.3011.

Full Text

Holtzhausen, Alisha, Fei Zhao, Kathy S. Evans, and Brent A. Hanks. “Early Carcinogenesis Involves the Establishment of Immune Privilege via Intrinsic and Extrinsic Regulation of Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1: Translational Implications in Cancer Immunotherapy.” Front Immunol 5 (2014): 438. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2014.00438.

PMID
25339948
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Hanks, Brent A., Alisha Holtzhausen, Katherine S. Evans, Rebekah Jamieson, Petra Gimpel, Olivia M. Campbell, Melissa Hector-Greene, et al. “Type III TGF-β receptor downregulation generates an immunotolerant tumor microenvironment.” J Clin Invest 123, no. 9 (September 2013): 3925–40. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI65745.

PMID
23925295
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Morse, Michael A., Brent A. Hanks, Paul Suhocki, Phuong L. Doan, Emily A. Liu, Patricia Frost, Stephen A. Bernard, Andrea Tsai, Dominic T. Moore, and Bert H. O’Neil. “Improved time to progression for transarterial chemoembolization compared with transarterial embolization for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.” Clin Colorectal Cancer 11, no. 3 (September 2012): 185–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2011.11.003.

PMID
22280845
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Hanks, Brent Allen, Alisha Holtzhausen, Petra Gimpel, Rebekah Jamieson, Olivia M. Campbell, Lihong Sun, Christina K. Augustine, et al. “Effect of the loss of the type III TGF beta receptor during tumor progression on tumor microenvironment: Preclinical development of TGF beta inhibition and TGF beta-related biomarkers to enhance immunotherapy efficacy.” In Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 30. AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 2012.

Scholars@Duke

Hanks, B. A., O. M. Campbell, J. D. Lee, M. Morse, T. M. Clay, H. K. Lyerly, and G. C. Blobe. “Role of the type III TGF-β receptor in modulating antitumor immunity during breast cancer progression.” J Clin Oncol 29, no. 15_suppl (May 20, 2011): 10540.

PMID
28021827
Scholars@Duke

Hanks, Brent A., and Michael A. Morse. “Pharmacological inhibition of TGFβ as a strategy to augment the antitumor immune response.” Curr Opin Investig Drugs 11, no. 12 (December 2010): 1342–53.

PMID
21154116
Scholars@Duke

Hanks, B. A., J. D. Lee, M. Morse, T. M. Clay, H. K. Lyerly, and G. C. Blobe. “Role of the type III TGF-b receptor in mediating immunosuppression during breast cancer progression.” In Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28:10577–10577. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 2010. https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2010.28.15_suppl.10577.

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Hanks, B. A., P. V. Suhocki, D. M. DeLong, P. L. Doan, E. Liu, A. L. Tsai, C. T. Burke, S. A. Bernard, B. H. O’Neil, and M. A. Morse. “The efficacy and tolerability of transarterial chemo-embolization (TACE) compared with transarterial embolization (TAE) for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).” J Clin Oncol 26, no. 15_suppl (May 20, 2008): 4595.

PMID
27948705
Scholars@Duke

Hanks, B. A., P. V. Suhocki, D. M. DeLong, P. L. Doan, E. Liu, A. L. Tsai, C. T. Burke, S. A. Bernard, B. H. O’Neil, and M. A. Morse. “The efficacy and tolerability of transarterial chemo-embolization (TACE) compared with transarterial embolization (TAE) for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).” Journal of Clinical Oncology 26, no. 15_suppl (May 20, 2008): 4595–4595. https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2008.26.15_suppl.4595.

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