Joseph A. Toonen

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Solid cancers develop within a supportive microenvironment that promotes tumor formation and growth through the elaboration of mitogens and chemokines. Within these tumors, monocytes (macrophages and microglia) represent rich sources of these stromal factors. Leveraging a genetically engineered mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) low-grade brain(More)
BACKGROUND Children with the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) tumor predisposition syndrome are prone to the development of optic pathway gliomas resulting from biallelic inactivation of the NF1 gene. Recent studies have revealed the presence of other molecular alterations in a small portion of these NF1-associated brain tumors. The purpose of this study was(More)
Waved with open eyelids 2 (woe2) is a novel autosomal recessive mouse mutation that arose spontaneously in our animal facility. Upon initial evaluation, mutant mice exhibited eyelids open at birth (EOB) and wavy fur phenotypes. The goals of this study were to phenotypically characterize the woe2 mice and to identify the gene harboring the mutation(More)
BACKGROUND Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) develop optic pathway gliomas, which result from impaired NF1 protein regulation of Ras activity. One obstacle to the implementation of biologically targeted therapies is an incomplete understanding of the individual contributions of the downstream Ras effectors (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase(More)
PURPOSE During mammalian embryonic eyelid closure ADAM17 has been proposed to play a role as a transactivator of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling by shedding membrane bound EGFR ligands. However, ADAM17 also sheds numerous other ligands, thus implicating ADAM17 in additional molecular pathways. The goal of this study was to experimentally(More)
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common neurogenetic condition characterized by significant clinical heterogeneity. A major barrier to developing precision medicine approaches for NF1 is an incomplete understanding of the factors that underlie its inherent variability. To determine the impact of the germline NF1 gene mutation on the optic gliomas(More)
Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) cancer predisposition syndrome are prone to the development of low-grade brain tumors (gliomas) within the optic pathway (optic gliomas). One of the key obstacles to developing successful therapeutic strategies for these tumors is the striking lack of information about the mechanical properties that characterize(More)
The concept that solid tumors are maintained by a productive interplay between neoplastic and non-neoplastic elements has gained traction with the demonstration that stromal fibroblasts and immune system cells dictate cancer development and progression. While less studied, brain tumor (glioma) biology is likewise influenced by non-neoplastic immune system(More)
ADAM10 and ADAM17 are two closely related members of the ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) family of membrane-bound sheddases, which proteolytically cleave surface membrane proteins. Both ADAM10 and ADAM17 have been implicated in the proteolytic cleavage of NOTCH receptors and as such regulators of NOTCH signaling. During retinal development, NOTCH(More)
Low-grade gliomas are one of the most common brain tumors in children, where they frequently form within the optic pathway (optic pathway gliomas; OPGs). Since many OPGs occur in the context of the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) cancer predisposition syndrome, we have previously employed Nf1 genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) strains to study the(More)