Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS

faculty photo
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Contact information
CHOP - Colket Translational Research Building
Room 4060
3501 Civic Center Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 267-426-2819
Fax: 267-426-2791
BSc (Hons) (Zoology)
University of Edinburgh, 1978.
PhD (Zoology and Anatomy)
Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories and University College London, 1982.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Brain tumors, brain development, genomics.
Key words: Brain, Development, Molecular Oncology, Reelin, sonic hedgehog, neuro-oncology, oncogenes

Description of Research
Our research addresses the molecular basis of normal and neoplastic growth in the developing nervous system. We hope that by understanding the normal processes that govern formation of the brain we will uncover new approaches for the treatment of rare but very devastating pediatric brain tumors. Research in the laboratory combines basic approaches with genomics and translational science in a broad-based effort. Our experimental strategies include mouse disease models, cell culture, genomics, human tumor samples, imaging and a range of molecular techniques.

Previously, we identified the reelin gene (Reln) whose protein product is a large extracellular protein that controls cell migration and is secreted by several early populations of neurons in the developing brain. We are now examining the molecular events downstream of Reln that mediate its function. To accomplish this we are developing several conditional mutant mouse lines and we are utilizing cell and molecular biology approaches.

We are taking genomic approaches to identify molecular changes and potential drug targets for several brain tumors including medulloblastoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors and choroid plexus carcinomas. We developed a model system with a 100 percent incidence of spontaneous medulloblastoma for use in translational studies. Recently, we found that a small molecule inhibitor of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway eliminated even large tumor masses in vivo. We are continuing to analyze the mechanism of action of several anticancer drugs in tumor cells and cancer models.

Rotation Projects
Opportunities are available to investigate the response of brain tumors to molecular targeted therapies in genetic mouse models. Opportunities are also available to investigate the molecular control of cell migration in the developing brain and signaling components of the Reelin pathway. Please contact Dr. Curran for available projects.

Lab personnel:
Jessica Ng Ph.D., Tae-Ju Park Ph.D., Mateusz Koptyra Ph.D., Hanna Li, Erin Fin; Dianne Settles, Executive Assistant

Selected Publications

Ng Jessica M Y, Martinez Daniel, Marsh Eric D, Zhang Zhe, Rappaport Eric, Santi Mariarita, Curran Tom: Generation of a Mouse Model of Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor of the Central Nervous System through Combined Deletion of Snf5 and p53. Cancer research Sep 2015.

Robinson Giles W, Orr Brent A, Wu Gang, Gururangan Sridharan, Lin Tong, Qaddoumi Ibrahim, Packer Roger J, Goldman Stewart, Prados Michael D, Desjardins Annick, Chintagumpala Murali, Takebe Naoko, Kaste Sue C, Rusch Michael, Allen Sariah J, Onar-Thomas Arzu, Stewart Clinton F, Fouladi Maryam, Boyett James M, Gilbertson Richard J, Curran Tom, Ellison David W, Gajjar Amar: Vismodegib Exerts Targeted Efficacy Against Recurrent Sonic Hedgehog-Subgroup Medulloblastoma: Results From Phase II Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Studies PBTC-025B and PBTC-032. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Jul 2015.

Huang Yanping, Clarke Fiona, Karimi Mobin, Roy Nathan H, Williamson Edward K, Okumura Mariko, Mochizuki Kazuhiro, Chen Emily J H, Park Tae-Ju, Debes Gudrun F, Zhang Yi, Curran Tom, Kambayashi Taku, Burkhardt Janis K: CRK proteins selectively regulate T cell migration into inflamed tissues. The Journal of clinical investigation 125(3): 1019-32, Mar 2015.

Koptyra Mateusz, Park Tae-Ju, Curran Tom: Crk and CrkL are required for cell transformation by v-fos and v-ras. Molecular carcinogenesis Jan 2015.

Dang Mai T, Wehrli Suzanne, Dang Chi V, Curran Tom: The Ketogenic Diet Does Not Affect Growth of Hedgehog Pathway Medulloblastoma in Mice. PloS one 10(7): e0133633, 2015.

Kim Jinkyung, Park Tae-Ju, Kwon Namseop, Lee Dongmyeong, Kim Seunghwan, Kohmura Yoshiki, Ishikawa Tetsuya, Kim Kyong-Tai, Curran Tom, Je Jung Ho: Dendritic planarity of Purkinje cells is independent of Reelin signaling. Brain structure & function May 2014.

George Britta, Fan Qingfeng, Dlugos Christopher P, Soofi Abdulsalam A, Zhang Jidong, Verma Rakesh, Park Tae-Ju, Wong Hetty, Curran Tom, Nihalani Deepak, Holzman Lawrence B: Crk1/2 and CrkL form a hetero-oligomer and functionally complement each other during podocyte morphogenesis. Kidney international Feb 2014.

Park T-J, Curran T: Essential roles of Crk and CrkL in fibroblast structure and motility. Oncogene Oct 2013.

Gajjar Amar, Stewart Clinton F, Ellison David W, Kaste Sue, Kun Larry E, Packer Roger J, Goldman Stewart, Chintagumpala Murali, Wallace Dana, Takebe Naoko, Boyett James M, Gilbertson Richard J, Curran Tom: Phase I Study of Vismodegib in Children with Recurrent or Refractory Medulloblastoma: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 19(22): 6305-12, Oct 2013.

Gurung Buddha, Feng Zijie, Iwamoto Daniel V, Thiel Austin, Jin Guanghui, Fan Chen-Min, Ng Jessica M Y, Curran Tom, Hua Xianxin: Menin epigenetically represses Hedgehog signaling in MEN1 tumor syndrome. Cancer research 73(8): 2650-8, Apr 2013.

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Last updated: 11/06/2015
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