Joell J. Gills

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Retrospective studies have shown that patients with tobacco-related cancers who continue to smoke after their diagnoses have lower response rates and shorter median survival compared with patients who stop smoking. To provide insight into the biologic basis for these clinical observations, we tested whether two tobacco components, nicotine or the(More)
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway controls many cellular processes that are important for the formation and progression of cancer, including apoptosis, transcription, translation, metabolism, angiogenesis, and cell cycle progression. Genetic alterations and biochemical activation of the pathway are(More)
PURPOSE The development of new cancer drugs is slow and costly. HIV protease inhibitors are Food and Drug Administration approved for HIV patients. Because these drugs cause toxicities that can be associated with inhibition of Akt, an emerging target in cancer, we assessed the potential of HIV protease inhibitors as anticancer agents. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN(More)
Alterations in EGFR, KRAS, and ALK are oncogenic drivers in lung cancer, but how oncogenic signaling influences immunity in the tumor microenvironment is just beginning to be understood. Immunosuppression likely contributes to lung cancer, because drugs that inhibit immune checkpoints like PD-1 and PD-L1 have clinical benefit. Here, we show that activation(More)
Previous collaborative work by our group has led to the discovery of several plant isolates and derivatives with activities in in vivo models of cancer chemoprevention, including deguelin, resveratrol, bruceantin, brassinin, 4'-bromoflavone, and oxomate. Using a panel of in vitro bioassays to monitor chromatographic fractionation, a diverse group of plant(More)
The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is aberrantly active in most human cancers and contributes to cell growth, proliferation, and survival. Akt is a nodal regulator of cellular survival pathways and an attractive target in cancer therapy. Many inhibitors of Akt are being developed. Perifosine is an oral Akt inhibitor currently being tested in phase 2 clinical trials.(More)
Metformin is the most commonly prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Retrospective studies show that metformin is associated with decreased cancer risk. This historical correlation has driven vigorous research campaigns to determine the anticancer mechanisms of metformin. Consolidating the preclinical data is a challenge because unanswered questions(More)
The development of cancer drugs is slow and costly. One approach to accelerate the availability of new drugs is to reposition drugs approved for other indications as anti-cancer agents. HIV protease inhibitors (HIV PIs) are useful in treating HIV infection and cause toxicities in humans that are similar to those observed when the kinase Akt, a target for(More)
In an effort to improve therapeutic options in cancer, many investigational drugs are being developed to inhibit signaling pathways that promote the survival of cancer cells. The prototypic pathway that promotes cellular survival is the phosphoinositide 3'-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway, which is constitutively activated in many types of(More)
Cancer chemopreventive effects of organic extracts from 29 species of lichens collected in Iceland were evaluated using a panel of in vitro bioassays whereby extracts were tested for potential to induce quinone reductase (QR) and differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells, inhibit cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), phorbol ester-induced ornithine(More)