Pedro Castelo Branco

 

University of Algarve

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, Bld 7

 Phone: +351 289 800 100 (internal extn. 7813)

Email: pjbranco@ualg.pt

 

Academic Degrees

  • 2000-2005 - D.Phil in Molecular Biology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.
  • 1993-1998 - Degree in Biology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

 

Positions

  • 2014-Present Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, University of the Algarve, Portugal.
     
  • 2008-2014 Research Fellow, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada.
     
  • 2006-2008 Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, USA.
     
  • 1999-2000 Researcher, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Portugal.
     
  • 1998-1999 Researcher, National Sports Institute, Portugal.

 

Research Interests

Relapse is still the major cause of cancer death. Most cancers are able to recur by gaining limitless self-renewal. This hallmark of cancer is governed by telomere maintenance and results from constitutive telomerase activation through TERT expression.

Our research group is interested in developing platforms that can deliver therapeutic agents that can exhaust cancer self-renewal capacity, on one hand.

On the other is to explore the potential diagnostic and prognostic value of epigenetic cancer biomarkers in order to help designing therapeutic approaches in an era of personalized medicine.

 

Project Grants

  • 2015-2020           Canadian Cancer Society – Impact Grant, Canada. “Targeting the telomere maintenance pathway for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.” – Co-applicant.
     
  • 2015-2020           Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada. “Novel implications of THOR hypermethylation in telomere maintenance and gliomagenesis.” – Co-applicant.
     
  • 2015-2017           Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. “Utilization of THOR hypermethylation for stratification and noninvasive detection of cancer.” – Co-applicant.
     
  • 2010-2015           Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada. “Prediction and Prevention of glioma recurrence by targeting telomere dependent self-renewal capacity of tumor initiating cells.”  – Team member.
     
  • 2012-2014           ASTELLAS grant, Portugal. “O papel da leptina no microambiente e oncogenese do carcinoma da prostata.”– Co-applicant.
     
  • 2010-2013           The Terry Fox Foundation, Canada.“ Exhaustion of tumor initiating cells by targeting their self-renewal capacity with telomerase inhibition.” – Team member.
     
  • 2012      MaRS Innovation Proof of Principal Grant: “hTERT methylation as a diagnostic and predictive tool for various tumors.” – Team Member
     
  • 2011-2013           ASTELLAS grant, Portugal: “O efeito de terapeuticas usadas no carcinoma da prostate  na subpopulacao de celulas estaminais cancerosas prostaticas.”  – Co-applicant.

 

Selected Publications

  • Zhukova N, Ramaswamy V, Remke M, Martin DC, Castelo-Branco P, Zhang CH, Fraser M, Tse K, Poon R,  Shih DJH, Baskin B, Ray PN, Bouffet E, Dirks P, von Bueren AO, Pfaff E, Korshunov A, Jones DTW, Northcott PA, Kool M, Pugh T, Pomeroy SL, Cho YJ, Pietsch T, Gessi M, Rutkowski S, Bognr L, Cho BK, Eberhart CG, Fävre-Montange M, Fouladi M, French PJ, Grajkowska WA, Gupta N, Hauser P, Jabado N, Jouvet A, Jung S, Kim SK, Klekner A, Kumabe T, Lach B, Leonard JR36, Liau LM38, Massimi L, Pollack IF, Ra YS, Rubin JB, Van Meir EG, Wang KC, Weiss WA, Zitterbart K, Bristow R, Alman B, Hawkins CE, Malkin D, Clifford SC, Pfister SM ,Taylor MD  and Tabori U. WNT activation by lithium abrogates TP53 mutation associated radiation resistance in medulloblastoma (2014). Acta Neuropathol Communications, in press.
     
  • Matthew Mistry, Nataliya Zhukova, Daniele Merico,Patricia Rakopoulos, Rahul Krishnatry, Mary Shago, Jim Stavropoulos, Noa Alon, Jason Pole, Peter N. Ray,Vilma Navickiene, Joshua Mangerel, Marc Remke, Pawel Buczkowicz, Vijay Ramaswamy, Martin Li, Ted Young, Cindy Zhang, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Doua Bakry, Suzzane Laughlin, Adam Shlien, Jennifer Chan, Keith L.Ligon, James T. Rutka, Peter B. Dirks, Michael D.Taylor, Mark Greenberg, David Malkin, Annie Huang, Eric Bouffet, Cynthia E. Hawkins and Uri Tabori. BRAF mutation and CDKN2A deletion define a clinically distinct subgroup of childhood secondary high grade glioma (2014). Journal of Clinical Oncology, in press.
     
  • Mangerel J, Price A, Castelo-Branco P, Brzezinski J, Buczkowicz P, Rakopoulos P, Merino D, Baskin B, Wasserman J, Mistry M, Barszczyk M, Picard D, Mack S, Remke M, Starkman H, Elizabeth C, Zhang C, Alon N, Lees J, Andrulis IL, Wunder JS, Jabado N, Johnston DL, Rutka JT, Dirks PB, Bouffet E, Taylor MD, Huang A, Malkin D, Hawkins C, Tabori U.Alternative lengthening of telomeres is enriched in, and impacts survival of TP53 mutant pediatric malignant brain tumors. Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Oct 15. [Epub ahead of print]
     
  • Barszczyk M, Buczkowicz P, Castelo-Branco P, Mack SC, Ramaswamy V, Mangerel J, Agnihotri S, Remke M, Golbourn B, Pajovic S, Elizabeth C, Yu M, Luu B, Morrison A, Adamski J, Nethery-Brokx K, Li XN, Van Meter T, Dirks PB, Rutka JT, Taylor MD, Tabori U, Hawkins C. Telomerase inhibition abolishes the tumorigenicity of pediatric ependymoma tumor-initiating cells.Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]
     
  • Pawel Buczkowicz, Christine Hoeman, Patricia Rakopoulos, Sanja Pajovic, Louis Letourneau, Misko Dzamba, Andrew Morrison, Peter Lewis, Eric Bouffet, Ute Bartels, Jennifer Zuccaro, Sameer Agnihotri, Scott Ryall, Mark Barszczyk, Yevgen Chornenkyy, Mathieu Bourgey, Guillaume Bourque, Alexandre Montpetit, Francisco Cordero, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Joshua Mangerel, Uri Tabori, Polly K.C. Ho, Annie Huang, Kathryn R. Taylor, Alan Mackay, Anne E Bendel, Javad Nazarian, Jason R Fangusaro, Matthias Karajannis, David Zagzag, Nicholas K. Foreman, Andrew Donson, Julia V. Hegert, Amy Smith, Jennifer Chan, Lucy Lafay-Cousin, Sandra Dunn, Juliette Hukin, Chris Dunham, Katrin Scheinemann, Jean Michaud, Shayna Zelcer, David Ramsay, Jason Cain, Cameron Brennan, Mark M. Souweidane, Chris Jones, C. David Allis, Michael Brudno, Oren Becher, Cynthia Hawkins. Comprehensive genomic analysis of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas unravels three molecular subgroups and a novel cancer driver. Nature Genetics, 2014 May;46(5):451-6. doi: 10.1038/ng.2936. Epub 2014 Apr 6.
     
  • Mack SC, Witt H, Piro RM, Gu L, Zuyderduyn S, Stütz AM, Wang X, Gallo M, Garzia L, Zayne K, Zhang X, Ramaswamy V, Jäger N, Jones DT, Sill M, Pugh TJ, Ryzhova M, Wani KM, Shih DJ, Head R, Remke M, Bailey SD, Zichner T, Faria CC, Barszczyk M, Stark S, Seker-Cin H, Hutter S, Johann P, Bender S, Hovestadt V, Tzaridis T, Dubuc AM, Northcott PA, Peacock J, Bertrand KC, Agnihotri S, Cavalli FM, Clarke I, Nethery-Brokx K, Creasy CL, Verma SK, Koster J, Wu X, Yao Y, Milde T, Sin-Chan P, Zuccaro J, Lau L, Pereira S, Castelo-Branco P, Hirst M, Marra MA, Roberts SS, Fults D, Massimi L, Cho YJ, Van Meter T, Grajkowska W, Lach B, Kulozik AE, von Deimling A, Witt O, Scherer SW, Fan X, Muraszko KM, Kool M, Pomeroy SL, Gupta N, Phillips J, Huang A, Tabori U, Hawkins C, Malkin D, Kongkham PN, Weiss WA, Jabado N, Rutka JT, Bouffet E, Korbel JO, Lupien M, Aldape KD, Bader GD, Eils R, Lichter P, Dirks PB, Pfister SM, Korshunov A, Taylor MD. Epigenomic alterations define lethal CIMP-positive ependymomas of infancy (2014). Nature, 2014 Feb 27;506(7489):445-50. doi: 10.1038/nature13108. Epub 2014 Feb 19.
     
  • Nataliya Zhukova, Vijay Ramaswamy, Marc Remke, Elke Pfaff, David J.H. Shih, Dianna C. Martin, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Berivan Baskin, Peter N. Ray, Eric Bouffet, Andre O. von Bueren, David T. W. Jones, Paul A. Northcott, Marcel Kool, Dominick Sturm, Trevor Pugh, Scott L. Pomeroy, Yoon-Jae Cho, Torsten Pietsch, Marco Gessi, Stefan Rutkowski, Laszlo Bognar, Almos Klekner, Byung-Kyu Cho, Seung-Ki Kim, Kyu-Chang Wang, Charles G. Eberhart, Michelle Fevre-Montange, Maryam Fouladi, Pim J. French, Max Kros, Wieslawa A. Grajkowska, Nalin Gupta, William A. Weiss, Peter Hauser, Nada Jabado, Anne Jouvet, Shin Jung, Toshihiro Kumabe, Boleslaw Lach, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Joshua B. Rubin, Linda M. Liau, Luca Massimi, Ian F. Pollack, Young Shin Ra, Erwin G. van Meir, Karel Zitterbart, Ulrich Schüller, Rebecca M. Hill, Janet C. Lindsey, Ed C. Schwalbe, Simon Bailey, David Ellison, Cynthia Hawkins, Andrey Korshunov, David Malkin, Steven C. Clifford, Stefan Pfister, Michael D. Taylor, and Uri Tabori. Subgroup Specific Prognostic Implications of TP53 Mutation in Medulloblastoma (2013). Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2013 Aug 10;31(23):2927-35. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.48.5052. Epub 2013 Jul 8.
     
  • Pedro Castelo-Branco, Sanaa Choufani, Stephen Mack, Denis Gallagher, Cindy Zhang, Tatiana Lipman, Nataliya Zhukova, Dianna Martin, Diana Merino, Jonathan Wasserman, Cynthia Samuel, Noa Alon, Johann Hitzler, Jean C.Y. Wang, David Malkin, Peter B. Dirks, Stefan Pfister, Michael D. Taylor, Rosanna Weksberg and Uri Tabori. Differentially methylated region of the hTERT promoter and risk stratification of childhood brain tumors: An integrative genomic and molecular study.(2013).The Lancet Oncol. May;14(6):534-42. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70110-4. Epub 2013 Apr 16
     
  • Schwartzentruber J, Korshunov A, Liu XY, Jones DT, Pfaff E, Jacob K, Sturm D, Fontebasso AM, Quang DA, Tönjes M, Hovestadt V, Albrecht S, Kool M, Nantel A, Konermann C, Lindroth A, Jäger N, Rausch T, Ryzhova M, Korbel JO, Hielscher T, Hauser P, Garami M, Klekner A, Bognar L, Ebinger M, Schuhmann MU, Scheurlen W, Pekrun A, Frühwald MC, Roggendorf W, Kramm C, Dürken M, Atkinson J, Lepage P, Montpetit A, Zakrzewska M, Zakrzewski K, Liberski PP, Dong Z, Siegel P, Kulozik AE, Zapatka M, Guha A, Malkin D, Felsberg J, Reifenberger G, von Deimling A, Ichimura K, Collins VP, Witt H, Milde T, Witt O, Zhang C, Castelo-Branco P, Lichter P, Faury D, Tabori U, Plass C, Majewski J, Pfister SM, Jabado N. (2012). Driver mutations in histone H3.3 and chromatin remodelling genes in paediatric glioblastoma. Nature. 2012 Jan 29;482(7384):226-31. doi: 10.1038/nature10833.

     
  • Walker EJ, Zhang C, Castelo-Branco P., Hawkins C, Wilson W, Zhukova N, Alon N, Novokmet A, Baskin B, Ray P, Knobbe C, Dirks P, Taylor MD, Croul S, Malkin D, Tabori U. (2012). Monoallelic Expression Determines Oncogenic Progression and Outcome in Benign and Malignant Brain Tumors. Cancer Res. 2012 Feb 1;72(3):636-44. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

     
  • Castelo-Branco, P., Zhang, C., Lipman, T., Fujitani, M., Hansford, L., Clarke, I., Harley, C., Tressler, R., Malkin , D., Walker, E., Kaplan, D., Dirks, P. and Tabori U. (2011). Neural Tumor Initiating Cells have distinct telomere maintenance and can be safely targeted for telomerase inhibition. Clinical Cancer Res. Jan 1;17(1):111-21.

     
  • Castelo-Branco, P., Passer, B.J., Buhrman J., Rabkin, S., and Martuza R.L. (2010). An Oncolytic virus armed with a Xenogeneic homolog of Prostatic Acid Phosphatase enhances anti-tumor efficacy in Prostate Cancer. Gene Ther. Mar;11.

 

Share Partilhar