Since 1993, David Sherr's laboratory has conducted research on how common environmental pollutants, such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and PCBs, adversely affect the growth and behavior of several different types of normal and malignant cells. In previous work, the Sherr laboratory studied how environmental chemicals affect the development of the immune system. In specific, his laboratory demonstrated that aromatic hydrocarbons (generated by the combuston of any carbon source) compromise the function of bone marrow cells required for the development of antibody-forming cells. These cells are critical for immune protection against viruses and bacteria. This work had its orignis in Dr. Sherr's graduate studies on the ontogeny of lymphocyte development.
More recently, Dr. Sherr's laboratory has focused on the molecular mechanisms that initiate and maintain breast cancer and on the effects of environmental chemicals on these processes. The laboratory has shown that a cellular protein receptor, referred to as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), plays an important role in the initiation and progression of human breast cancer. The results explain, in part, the association between environmental chemical exposure and breast cancer risk. Perhaps most importantly, these studies demonstrate that the AhR drives human breast cancer cells to invade and, presumably, metastasize even in the absence of environmental chemicals. These observations have led to the development of AhR inhibitors which block AhR activity and prevent tumor cells from invading. One immediate goal of the laboratory, therefore, is the development of potent AhR inhibitors as novel, targeted therapeutics to be used for treatment of all breast cancers but especially for treatment of "triple negative" or chemotherapy-resistant breast cancers. Interestingly, preliminary studies suggest that these AhR inhibitors could be useful for treatment of several other cancer cell types.
A new area of study in Dr. Sherr's laboratory is the analysis of the role of the AhR in blood cell development. These studies are important from both an environmental science and medical science point of view. Studies performed to date suggest that the AhR plays an important roll in the normal development of blood cells. The results suggest the intriguing possibility that common environmental pollutants can alter normal blood cell development by interfering with AhR signaling.
Dr. Sherr came to BUSPH from the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he had earlier been a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Nobel Laureate Baruj Benacerraf. The Sherr Laboratory is funded by research grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the NIH Superfund Basic Research Program, and the Art BeCAUSE breast cancer foundation. Dr. Sherr is the Director of the Boston University Immunology Training Program, and a member of the Amyloid Treatment Research Program, the BU Cancer Center, the Hematology/Oncology Training Program, and the BU Hormone-dependent Cancer Center. He has trained 21 postdoctoral (M.D. or Ph.D.) and 11 predoctoral (M.D. and/or Ph.D.) fellows.
- Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine - Boston University School of Medicine
- Member, BU-BMC Cancer Center - Boston University
- Member, Amyloidosis Center - Boston University
- Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research - Boston University
- Member, Genome Science Institute - Boston University
- Director, Superfund Research Program - Boston University
- Director, Immunology Training Program - Boston University
- Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students) - Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
- Cornell University, PhD Field of Study: Microbiology
- Brandeis University, BA Field of Study: Biology
- Published on 5/11/2021
Kenison JE, Wang Z, Yang K, Snyder M, Quintana FJ, Sherr DH. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor suppresses immunity to oral squamous cell carcinoma through immune checkpoint regulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 May 11; 118(19). PMID: 33941684.
- Published on 3/8/2021
Koual M, Tomkiewicz C, Guerrera IC, Sherr D, Barouki R, Coumoul X. Aggressiveness and Metastatic Potential of Breast Cancer Cells Co-Cultured with Preadipocytes and Exposed to an Environmental Pollutant Dioxin: An in Vitro and in Vivo Zebrafish Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2021 Mar; 129(3):37002. PMID: 33683140.
- Published on 12/31/2020
Wang Z, Snyder M, Kenison JE, Yang K, Lara B, Lydell E, Bennani K, Novikov O, Federico A, Monti S, Sherr DH. How the AHR Became Important in Cancer: The Role of Chronically Active AHR in Cancer Aggression. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 31; 22(1). PMID: 33396563.
- Published on 11/25/2020
Kenison JE, Jhaveri A, Li Z, Khadse N, Tjon E, Tezza S, Nowakowska D, Plasencia A, Stanton VP, Sherr DH, Quintana FJ. Tolerogenic nanoparticles suppress central nervous system inflammation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 12 15; 117(50):32017-32028. PMID: 33239445.
- Published on 10/1/2020
Giovannoni F, Bosch I, Polonio CM, Torti MF, Wheeler MA, Li Z, Romorini L, Rodriguez Varela MS, Rothhammer V, Barroso A, Tjon EC, Sanmarco LM, Takenaka MC, Modaresi SMS, Gutiérrez-Vázquez C, Zanluqui NG, Dos Santos NB, Munhoz CD, Wang Z, Damonte EB, Sherr D, Gehrke L, Peron JPS, Garcia CC, Quintana FJ. Author Correction: AHR is a Zika virus host factor and a candidate target for antiviral therapy. Nat Neurosci. 2020 Oct; 23(10):1307. PMID: 32778795.
- Published on 7/20/2020
Giovannoni F, Bosch I, Polonio CM, Torti MF, Wheeler MA, Li Z, Romorini L, Rodriguez Varela MS, Rothhammer V, Barroso A, Tjon EC, Sanmarco LM, Takenaka MC, Modaresi SMS, Gutiérrez-Vázquez C, Zanluqui NG, Dos Santos NB, Munhoz CD, Wang Z, Damonte EB, Sherr D, Gehrke L, Peron JPS, Garcia CC, Quintana FJ. AHR is a Zika virus host factor and a candidate target for antiviral therapy. Nat Neurosci. 2020 08; 23(8):939-951. PMID: 32690969.
- Published on 10/30/2019
Walker JA, Richards S, Belghasem ME, Arinze N, Yoo SB, Tashjian JY, Whelan SA, Lee N, Kolachalama VB, Francis J, Ravid K, Sherr D, Chitalia VC. Temporal and tissue-specific activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in discrete mouse models of kidney disease. Kidney Int. 2020 03; 97(3):538-550. PMID: 31932072.
- Published on 9/17/2019
Krishnan S, Ding Y, Saeidi N, Choi M, Sridharan GV, Sherr DH, Yarmush ML, Alaniz RC, Jayaraman A, Lee K. Gut Microbiota-Derived Tryptophan Metabolites Modulate Inflammatory Response in Hepatocytes and Macrophages. Cell Rep. 2019 Sep 17; 28(12):3285. PMID: 31533048.
- Published on 9/1/2019
Takenaka MC, Gabriely G, Rothhammer V, Mascanfroni ID, Wheeler MA, Chao CC, Gutiérrez-Vázquez C, Kenison J, Tjon EC, Barroso A, Vandeventer T, de Lima KA, Rothweiler S, Mayo L, Ghannam S, Zandee S, Healy L, Sherr D, Farez MF, Prat A, Antel J, Reardon DA, Zhang H, Robson SC, Getz G, Weiner HL, Quintana FJ. Author Correction: Control of tumor-associated macrophages and T cells in glioblastoma via AHR and CD39. Nat Neurosci. 2019 Sep; 22(9):1533. PMID: 31197266.
- Published on 4/8/2019
Takenaka MC, Gabriely G, Rothhammer V, Mascanfroni ID, Wheeler MA, Chao CC, Gutiérrez-Vázquez C, Kenison J, Tjon EC, Barroso A, Vandeventer T, de Lima KA, Rothweiler S, Mayo L, Ghannam S, Zandee S, Healy L, Sherr D, Farez MF, Pratt A, Antel J, Reardon DA, Zhang H, Robson SC, Getz G, Weiner HL, Quintana FJ. Control of tumor-associated macrophages and T cells in glioblastoma via AHR and CD39. Nat Neurosci. 2019 05; 22(5):729-740. PMID: 30962630.
News & In the Media
- Published on September 8, 2020
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- Published on May 21, 2014