Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado Boulder (2001)
  • Master of Science, University of Colorado Denver (2006)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Univ of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2011)

Stanford Advisors


Journal Articles

  • Blockade of SDF-1 after irradiation inhibits tumor recurrences of autochthonous brain tumors in rats NEURO-ONCOLOGY Liu, S., Alomran, R., Chernikova, S. B., Lartey, F., Stafford, J., Jang, T., Merchant, M., Zboralski, D., Zoellner, S., Kruschinski, A., Klussmann, S., Recht, L., Brown, J. M. 2014; 16 (1): 21-28


    Background Tumor irradiation blocks local angiogenesis, forcing any recurrent tumor to form new vessels from circulating cells. We have previously demonstrated that the post-irradiation recurrence of human glioblastomas in the brains of nude mice can be delayed or prevented by inhibiting circulating blood vessel-forming cells by blocking the interaction of CXCR4 with its ligand stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1 (CXCL12). In the present study we test this strategy by directly neutralizing SDF-1 in a clinically relevant model using autochthonous brain tumors in immune competent hosts. Methods We used NOX-A12, an l-enantiomeric RNA oligonucleotide that binds and inhibits SDF-1 with high affinity. We tested the effect of this inhibitor on the response to irradiation of brain tumors in rat induced by n-ethyl-N-nitrosourea. Results Rats treated in utero with N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea began to die of brain tumors from approximately 120 days of age. We delivered a single dose of whole brain irradiation (20 Gy) on day 115 of age, began treatment with NOX-A12 immediately following irradiation, and continued with either 5 or 20 mg/kg for 4 or 8 weeks, doses and times equivalent to well-tolerated human exposures. We found a marked prolongation of rat life span that was dependent on both drug dose and duration of treatment. In addition we treated tumors only when they were visible by MRI and demonstrated complete regression of the tumors that was not achieved by irradiation alone or with the addition of temozolomide. Conclusions Inhibition of SDF-1 following tumor irradiation is a powerful way of improving tumor response of glioblastoma multiforme.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/neuonc/not149

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329135900005

  • Phosphatidylserine-targeted molecular imaging of tumor vasculature by magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of biomedical nanotechnology Zhou, H., Stafford, J. H., Hallac, R. R., Zhang, L., Huang, G., Mason, R. P., Gao, J., Thorpe, P. E., Zhao, D. 2014; 10 (5): 846-55


    Phosphatidylserine (PS), normally restricted to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane, becomes exposed on the outer surface of viable endothelial cells in tumor vasculature, but not in normal blood vessels. In the present study, we report the use of PGN635, a novel human monoclonal antibody that specifically targets PS, for in vivo molecular MRI of tumor vasculature. The F(ab')2 fragments of PGN635 were conjugated to polyethylene glycol (PEG) coated iron oxide nanoparticles (IO). Targeting specificity of the PS-targeted Nanoprobe, IO-PGN635F(ab')2 was first confirmed by in vitro MRI and histological staining. In vivo longitudinal MRI was then performed before and after i.v. injection of IO-PGN635F(ab')2 into mice bearing 4T1 breast tumors. T2-weighted MR images at 9.4 T revealed inhomogeneous signal loss in tumor as early as 2 h post injection. Furthermore, ionizing radiation induced a significant increase in PS exposure on tumor vascular endothelial cells, resulting in significantly enhanced and sustained tumor contrast (p < 0.05). Spatially heterogeneous MRI contrast correlated well with histological staining of tumor vascular endothelium. Our studies suggest that PS exposed within the lumen of tumor vasculature is a highly specific and useful biomarker for targeted MRI contrast agents.

    View details for PubMedID 24734537

  • Highly Specific PET Imaging of Prostate Tumors in Mice with an Iodine-124-Labeled Antibody Fragment That Targets Phosphatidylserine PLOS ONE Stafford, J. H., Hao, G., Best, A. M., Sun, X., Thorpe, P. E. 2013; 8 (12)


    Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an attractive target for imaging agents that identify tumors and assess their response to therapy. PS is absent from the surface of most cell types, but becomes exposed on tumor cells and tumor vasculature in response to oxidative stresses in the tumor microenvironment and increases in response to therapy. To image exposed PS, we used a fully human PS-targeting antibody fragment, PGN635 F(ab')2, that binds to complexes of PS and β2-glycoprotein I. PGN635 F(ab')2 was labeled with the positron-emitting isotope iodine-124 ((124)I) and the resulting probe was injected into nude mice bearing subcutaneous or orthotopic human PC3 prostate tumors. Biodistribution studies showed that (124)I-PGN635 F(ab')2 localized with remarkable specificity to the tumors with little uptake in other organs, including the liver and kidneys. Clear delineation of the tumors was achieved by PET 48 hours after injection. Radiation of the tumors with 15 Gy or systemic treatment of the mice with 10 mg/kg docetaxel increased localization in the tumors. Tumor-to-normal (T/N) ratios were inversely correlated with tumor growth measured over 28 days. These data indicate that (124)I-PGN635 F(ab')2 is a promising new imaging agent for predicting tumor response to therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0084864

    View details for Web of Science ID 000328741900070

    View details for PubMedID 24367699

  • Near-infrared Optical Imaging of Exposed Phosphatidylserine in a Mouse Glioma Model. Translational oncology Zhao, D., Stafford, J. H., Zhou, H., Thorpe, P. E. 2011; 4 (6): 355-364


    Phosphatidylserine (PS) is normally intracellular but becomes exposed on the luminal surface of vascular endothelial cells in tumors. It also becomes exposed on tumors cells responding to therapy. In the present study, we optically imaged exposed PS in vivo using PGN635, a novel monoclonal antibody that binds PS. The F(ab')(2) fragment of PGN635 was labeled with the near-infrared (NIR) dye, IRDye800CW. In vivo dynamic NIR imaging was performed after injection of 800CW-PGN635 into mice bearing radiation-treated or untreated U87 glioma xenografts growing subcutaneously or orthotopically. NIR optical imaging revealed a clear tumor contrast in nonirradiated subcutaneous U87 gliomas after injection of 800CW-PGN635. The tumor contrast was visible as early as 4 hours later and was maximal 24 hours later (tumor-to-normal tissue ratio [TNR] = 2.8 ± 0.7). Irradiation enhanced the tumor contrast at 24 hours (TNR = 4.0 ± 0.3). Similar results were observed for orthotopic gliomas. Localization of 800CW-PGN635 to tumors was antigen specific because 800CW-Aurexis, a control probe of irrelevant specificity, did not localize to the tumors, and preadministration of unlabeled PGN635 blocked the uptake of 800CW-PGN635. Fluorescence microscopy confirmed that 800CW-PGN635 was binding to PS-positive vascular endothelial cells in nonirradiated gliomas. Irradiation of the gliomas increased PS exposure on both tumor vascular endothelial cells and tumor cells and gave rise to an increase in tumor contrast with 800CW-PGN635 that was predictive of the reduction in tumor growth. 800CW-PGN635 may be a useful new imaging probe for detection of exposed PS in tumors responding to therapy.

    View details for PubMedID 22191000

  • Increased Exposure of Phosphatidylethanolamine on the Surface of Tumor Vascular Endothelium NEOPLASIA Stafford, J. H., Thorpe, P. E. 2011; 13 (4): 299-U125


    We have previously shown that oxidative stress within the tumor microenvironment causes phosphatidylserine (PS) to redistribute from the inner to the outer membrane leaflet of the endothelial cells (EC) creating a highly specific marker for the tumor vasculature. Because the distribution of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and PS within the membrane is coregulated, we reasoned that PE would also be localized in the outer membrane leaflet of tumor EC. To demonstrate this, the PE-binding peptide duramycin was biotinylated and used to determine the distribution of PE on EC in vitro and in vivo. Exposure of cultured EC to hypoxia, acidity, reactive oxygen species, or irradiation resulted in the formation of membrane blebs that were intensely PE-positive. When biotinylated duramycin was intravenously injected into tumor-bearing mice, it preferentially localized to the luminal surface of the vascular endothelium. Depending on tumor type, 13% to 56% of the tumor vessels stained positive for PE. PE-positive vessels were observed in and around hypoxic regions of the tumor. With the exception of intertubular vessels of the kidney, normal vessels remained unstained. To test the potential of PE as a biomarker for imaging, duramycin was conjugated to the near-infrared fluorophore 800CW and used for optical imaging of RM-9 prostate carcinomas. The near-infrared probe was easily detected within tumors in live animals. These results show that PE, like PS, becomes exposed on tumor vascular endothelium of multiple types of tumors and holds promise as a biomarker for noninvasive imaging and drug targeting.

    View details for DOI 10.1593/neo.101366

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289529400001

    View details for PubMedID 21472134

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