Dr. Jerome Hershman's focus in the laboratory is on improving treatment for thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is treated with radioactive iodine, but some cancers do not take it up because the tumor tissue has lost this function. Hershman and his colleagues are developing a method to restore the iodide uptake function of thyroid cancer cells. In collaboration with pathologists, they also are working on methods to improve the diagnosis of thyroid cancer on needle biopsies of thyroid nodules.
Specifically, the objectives of Hershman's current research are to investigate the regulation of the human sodium/iodide symporter gene in human thyroid cancer cells and to manipulate its expression for cancer therapy. He and his colleagues have identified a putative transcription factor, factor S, that binds to a far-upstream enhancer element and thus increases NIS expression in normal thyroid cells. They found that this factor was missing in thyroid cancer cells. The identity of factor S is not clear. In Hershman's current research, he plans to characterize factor S protein and its expression in thyroid cancers, study its interaction with other transcription factors and regulatory elements and clone the full length DNA encoding human factor S.
Hershman and his associates also have shown that papillary thyroid cancer cells express high levels of the enzyme nincotinamide N-methyl transferase (NNMT). They are determining the regulation and function of NNMT in thyroid cancer cells. They are also studying NNMT as a biomarker for thyroid cancer, together with other unique proteins as biomarkers for thyroid cancer in needle biopsies of thyroid nodules.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Xu J, Hershman JM. Histone deacetylase inhibitor depsipeptide represses nicotinamide N-methyltransferase and hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta gene expression in human papillary thyroid cancer cells. Thyroid. 2006; 16(2): 151-60.
Zhang L, Sharma S, Hershman JM, Brent GA, Dubinett SM, Huang M. Iodide sensitizes genetically modified non-small cell lung cancer cells to ionizing radiation. Cancer Gene Ther. 2006; 13(1): 74-81.
Heymann RS, Brent GA, Hershman JM. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma with thyrotoxicosis and hypoparathyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2005; 11(4): 281-4.
Xu J, Moatamed F, Caldwell JS, Walker JR, Kraiem Z, Taki K, Brent GA, Hershman JM. Enhanced expression of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase in human papillary thyroid carcinoma cells. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003; 88(10): 4990-6.
Zhang L, Sharma S, Zhu LX, Kogai T, Hershman JM, Brent GA, Dubinett SM, Huang M. Nonradioactive iodide effectively induces apoptosis in genetically modified lung cancer cells. Cancer Res. 2003; 63(16): 5065-72.