University of Nebraska Medical Center

Maneesh Jain, PhD



Maneesh Jain, PhD


Development of diagnostics and therapeutics against cancer and allied diseases

My interest has been to develop antibody-based strategies for targeted therapy and diagnosis of diseases, particularly cancer. Our research involves development of genetically engineered antibody fragments for improved radioimmunotherapy of solid tumors. We are trying to optimize radioimmunotherapy of solid tumors by modifying the molecular design of antibody fragments and introducing sequences that will enhance the uptake and/or retention of radiolabeled antibodies in the tumor tissues without altering their distribution in non-target tissues. Recently, we demonstrated the utility of cell penetrating peptides in improving the tumor retention antibody fragments.

The other area of our research involves development of serum assays for the early diagnosis of lethal pancreatic cancer. We are trying several approaches to develop sensitive mucin-based serum assays utilizing the antibodies that we have generated. In collaboration with several groups we are trying to develop a multimarker nanoparticle-based assay for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. We are also trying to use the antibodies for disrupting the signaling pathways mediated by their targets for therapeutic intervention and engineering the antibodies for human use. Additionally, we are trying to use the antibodies and antibody fragments for the delivery nanoparticle-encapsulated drugs to various cancers. The following projects are currently in progress:

  1. Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The project involves development of a mucin-based serum assays(s) for the early detection of pancreatic cancer using various approaches.
  2. Therapy against prostate and other cancer using radiolabeled antibody constructs. We are interested in developing a multi-antigen (EGFRvIII, MUC4 and TAG72) targeted radioimmunotherapy using a cocktail of antibody fragments.
  3. Studying the involvement of altered signaling pathways in cancer and exploiting the information cancer therapy. We are trying to understand the role(s) of RUNX family transcription factors in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer. Specific focus is on the identification of target gene(s) regulated by RUNX3 and their involvement in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer.
  4. Studying the involvement of altered EGFR signaling in the development of pancreatic cancer. We are studying the role of mutant EGFR receptors, particularly EGFRvIII, in the pancreatic cancer pathogenesis. These studies will form the basis of developing new therapeutic strategies using anti-EGFRvIII-specific antibodies for targeting pancreatic cancer.