Alexander Kazansky

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

Title: Novel nanotechnology approach to target cancer- switch from proto-oncogene to tumor suppressor


Alexander Kazansky is working as Associate Professor from 2014 to present at the Dept. of Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV); Associate Professor at the Dept. of Biomedicine, University of Texas Brownsville (UTB) 2011-2014 and; Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Science, University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas (2006-2011) Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (2006-present). He served as Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (2003-2006). He served as a Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; Research Associate, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Cell Differentiation, Institute of Gene Biology, Moscow, Russia and; Graduate Student, Institute of General Genetics and Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Moscow, Russia.


Prostate cancer remains one of the most common and potentially lethal neoplastic manifestations among men. In many cases, malignant transformation can be directly linked to activation of the STAT family of transcription factors. STAT5B, a specific member of the STAT family is intimately associated with prostate tumor progression. While the full form of STAT5B is thought to promote tumor progression, a naturally occurring truncated isoform acts as a tumor suppressor. We previously demonstrated that truncated STAT5 is generated by insertion of an alternatively spliced exon and results in the introduction of an early termination codon. In this report we demonstrate a new approach aimed at inhibition the expression of full-length STAT5B (a proto-oncogene) while simultaneously enhancing the expression of STAT5∆B (a tumor suppressor). The presented work combines the actions of steric-blocking splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) and a novel nanotechnology-based approach for targeted delivery of DNA to tumor cells. We were able to block alternative splicing of STATs mRNA applying conjugates of SSO with pH insertion peptide (pHLIP). Our data demonstrates the functional effect of the intron/exon proportional tuning toward anti-cancer activity. A common feature of most STATs is alternative splicing, which leads to generation of a dominant-negative isoform. STAT proteins are involved in wide variety of physiological processes including immune response and tumor progression. Ability to modulate their actions and specifically switch function from tumor activating to tumor suppressing would be highly beneficial in many areas of biomedical research. In conclusion we developed and confirmed a novel method to implement steric-blocking splice-switching oligonucleotides for targeted delivery towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

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