Shari A. Pilon-Thomas, PhD

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Shari A. Pilon-Thomas, PhD

Assistant Member

Education And Training


A major goal of my research is to investigate approaches that overcome melanoma-mediated T cell suppression. Much of my research on the anti-melanoma activity of combined lymphopenia and immunotherapy. Based on the hypothesis that regression of established melanoma will require multiple immunotherapeutic approaches for the induction of effective anti-tumor T-cell activity, my scientific research aims to implement therapies for the induction of potent anti-tumor T-cell responses against melanoma. We aim to achieve this by: 1. Investigating experimentally the mechanisms of immune regulation induced after lymphopenia; 2. Examining the efficacy of DC-based vaccination in the setting of lymphopenia by transfer of T cells enriched in CD8+ memory T cells; and 3. Determining the efficacy of dendritic cell vaccination and CpG adjuvant therapy in combination with irradiation and adoptive T-cell transfer in a murine melanoma model. We have outlined experimental studies that are designed to continue successful preclinical efforts to generate immunization strategies against melanoma.  These findings could be translated to human clinical immunotherapeutic trials.  We are also is investigating the effectiveness of radiation therapy followed by T-cell transfer and dendritic cell immunotherapy for treatment of established melanoma with the goal of defining the potential of combining radiation or chemotherapy and immunotherapy for treatment of melanoma.

  • Radvanyi L, Pilon-Thomas S, Peng W, Sarnaik A, Mulé JJ, Weber J, Hwu P. Antagonist Antibodies to PD-1 and B7-H1 (PD-L1) in the Treatment of Advanced Human Cancer--Letter. Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Oct;19(19):5541. Pubmedid: 24048330.
  • Chacon JA, Wu RC, Sukhumalchandra P, Molldrem JJ, Sarnaik A, Pilon-Thomas S, Weber J, Hwu P, Radvanyi L. Co-stimulation through 4-1BB/CD137 improves the expansion and function of CD8(+) melanoma tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for adoptive T-cell therapy. PLoS One. 2013 Sep;8(4):e60031. Pubmedid: 23560068. Pmcid: PMC3613355.
  • Chacon JA, Pilon-Thomas S, Sarnaik AA, Radvanyi LG. Continuous 4-1BB co-stimulatory signals for the optimal expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for adoptive T-cell therapy. Oncoimmunology. 2013 Sep;2(9):e25581. Pubmedid: 24319633.
  • Toomey P, Kodumudi K, Weber A, Kuhn L, Moore E, Sarnaik AA, Pilon-Thomas S. Intralesional injection of rose bengal induces a systemic tumor-specific immune response in murine models of melanoma and breast cancer. PLoS One. 2013 Jul;8(7):e68561. Pubmedid: 23874673.
  • Komine H, Kuhn L, Matsushita N, Mulé JJ, Pilon-Thomas S. Examination of MARCO Activity on Dendritic Cell Phenotype and Function Using a Gene Knockout Mouse. PLoS One. 2013 Jul;8(7):e67795. Pubmedid: 23840879. Pmcid: PMC3698187.
  • Ghansah T, Vohra N, Kinney K, Weber A, Kodumudi K, Springett G, Sarnaik AA, Pilon-Thomas S. Dendritic cell immunotherapy combined with gemcitabine chemotherapy enhances survival in a murine model of pancreatic carcinoma. Cancer Immunol Immun. 2013 Jun;62(6):1083-1091. Pubmedid: 23604104. Pmcid: PMC3666559.
  • Toomey PG, Vohra NA, Ghansah T, Sarnaik AA, Pilon-Thomas SA. Immunotherapy for gastrointestinal malignancies. Cancer Control. 2013 Jan;20(1):32-42. Pubmedid: 23302905.
  • Kodumudi KN, Weber A, Sarnaik AA, Pilon-Thomas S. Blockade of myeloid-derived suppressor cells after induction of lymphopenia improves adoptive T cell therapy in a murine model of melanoma. J Immunol. 2012 Dec;189(11):5147-5154. Pubmedid: 23100512. Pmcid: PMC3505990.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Kuhn L, Ellwanger S, Janssen W, Royster E, Marzban S, Kudchadkar R, Zager J, Gibney G, Sondak VK, Weber J, Mulé JJ, Sarnaik AA. Efficacy of adoptive cell transfer of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes after lymphopenia induction for metastatic melanoma. J Immunother. 2012 Oct;35(8):615-620. Pubmedid: 22996367.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Nelson N, Vohra N, Jerald M, Pendleton L, Szekeres K, Ghansah T. Murine pancreatic adenocarcinoma dampens SHIP-1 expression and alters MDSC homeostasis and function. PLoS One. 2012 Apr;6(11):e27729. Pubmedid: 22132131. Pmcid: PMC3222660.
  • Matsushita N, Komine H, Grolleau-Julius A, Pilon-Thomas S, Mulé JJ. Targeting MARCO can lead to enhanced dendritic cell motility and anti-melanoma activity. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010 Jun;59(6):875-884. Pubmedid: 20054688. Pmcid: PMC2861905.
  • Vohra N, Verhaegen M, Martin L, Mackay A, Pilon-Thomas S. TNF-alpha-treated DC exacerbates disease in a murine tumor metastasis model. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010 May;59(5):729-736. Pubmedid: 19921187. Pmcid: PMC2839058.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Mackay A, Vohra N, Mulé JJ. Blockade of programmed death ligand 1 enhances the therapeutic efficacy of combination immunotherapy against melanoma. J Immunol. 2010 Apr;184(7):3442-3449. Pubmedid: 20194714. Pmcid: PMC2913584.
  • Radkevich-Brown O, Piechocki MP, Back JB, Weise AM, Pilon-Thomas S, Wei WZ. Intratumoral DNA electroporation induces anti-tumor immunity and tumor regression. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2010 Mar;59(3):409-417. Pubmedid: 19730859. Pmcid: PMC3702174.
  • Koike N, Pilon-Thomas S, Mulé JJ. Nonmyeloablative chemotherapy followed by T-cell adoptive transfer and dendritic cell-based vaccination results in rejection of established melanoma. J Immunother. 2008 May;31(4):402-412. Pubmedid: 18391755.
  • Matsushita N, Pilon-Thomas SA, Martin LM, Riker AI. Comparative methodologies of regulatory T cell depletion in a murine melanoma model. J Immunol Methods. 2008 Apr;333(1-2):167-179. Pubmedid: 18295790. Pmcid: PMC2577585.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Verhaegen M, Kuhn L, Riker A, Mule J. Induction of anti-tumor immunity by vaccination with dendritic cells pulsedwith anti-CD44 IgG opsonized tumor cells. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2006 Oct;55(10):1238-1246. Pubmedid: 16315029.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Li W, Briggs J, Djeu J, Mule J, Riker A. Immunostimulatory Effects of CpG-ODN Upon Dendritic Cell-Based Immunotherapy in a Murine Melanoma Model. J Immunother. 2006 Jul;29(4):381-387. Pubmedid: 16799333.
  • Kortylewski M, Kujawski M, Wang T, Wei S, Zhang S, Pilon-Thomas S, Niu G, Kay H, Mulé J, Kerr WG, Jove R, Pardoll D, Yu H. Inhibiting Stat3 signaling in the hematopoietic system elicits multicomponent antitumor immunity. Nat Med. 2005 Dec;11(12):1314-1321. Pubmedid: 16288283.
  • Pilon-Thomas S, Verhaegen M, Mule J. Dendritic cell-based therapeutics for breast cancer. Breast Dis. 2004;20:65-71. Pubmedid: 15687708.
  • Asavaroengchai W, Kotera Y, Koike N, Pilon-Thomas S, Mule J. Augmentation of antitumor immune responses after adoptive transfer of bone marrow derived from donors immunized with tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2004;10:524-533. Pubmedid: 15282530.
  • Piechocki MP, Ho YS, Pilon S, Wei WZ. Human ErbB-2 (Her-2) transgenic mice: a model system for testing Her-2 based vaccines. J Immunol. 2003 Dec;171(11):5787-5794. Pubmedid: 14634087.
  • Pilon SA, Kelly C, Wei WZ. Broadening of epitope recognition during immune rejection of ErbB-2-positive tumor prevents growth of ErbB-2-negative tumor. J Immunol. 2003 Feb;170(3):1202-1208. Pubmedid: 12538677.
  • Piechocki MP, Pilon SA, Wei WZ. Quantitative measurement of anti-ErbB-2 antibody by flow cytometry and ELISA. J Immunol Methods. 2002 Jan;259(1-2):33-42. Pubmedid: 11730839.
  • Piechocki MP, Pilon SA, Kelly C, Wei WZ. Degradation signals in ErbB-2 dictate proteasomal processing and immunogenicity and resist protection by cis glycine-alanine repeat. Cell Immunol. 2001 Sep;212(2):138-149. Pubmedid: 11748930.
  • Piechocki MP, Pilon SA, Wei WZ. Complementary antitumor immunity induced by plasmid DNA encoding secreted and cytoplasmic human ErbB-2. J Immunol. 2001 Sep;167(6):3367-3374. Pubmedid: 11544327.
  • Pilon SA, Piechocki MP, Wei WZ. Vaccination with cytoplasmic ErbB-2 DNA protects mice from mammary tumor growth without anti-ErbB-2 antibody. J Immunol. 2001 Sep;167(6):3201-3206. Pubmedid: 11544306.
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