Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.Associate Professor
Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology
Research Cluster: Cancer Biology
Office: BBSC 336-Q | Laboratory: BBSC 312
Phone: (304) 696-3516 | Fax: (304) 696-3713
E-mail: claudiop@marshall.edu

Research Interests

The focus of our laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms governing malignant transformation in order to tailor novel therapeutic strategies. To effectively design novel biological drugs, a further understanding of the mechanism of cancer pathogenesis is required. Toward this end, we have carried out in the past 20 years studies to understand the crosstalk between those factors that contribute to cancer progression versus those that protect from it and to use them to our advantage to defeat cancer.

Gene therapy offers great potential for combating and curing a wide range of pathologic lesions. One of the major limiting factors in gene therapy has been the development of safe and effective delivery systems.

The emphasis of our research efforts is on imaging-guided drug delivery. The recent emergence of “molecular imaging” has set the stage for an evolutionary jump in diagnostic imaging and therapy. The ability to incorporate drugs or genes into detectable site-targeted nanosystems represents a new paradigm in therapeutics that will usher in an era of image-based drug delivery.

We have developed a novel gene therapy system based on the use of commercially available ultrasound contrast agents and adenoviruses that enhance the specificity of gene transfer in vitro as well in vivo. Ultrasound-mediated microbubble destruction improves the efficacy and reduces the non-specific expression of gene therapy vectors, providing a useful tool for manipulating gene expression in the living animal. We are currently working on further developing this useful targeting gene therapy tool to help close the gap that still exist between laboratory bench and bedside application.

Translational research (applied research aimed at closing the gap between the laboratory and the bedside) is the main focus of our studies. Recently in our laboratory, that is located within the Translational Genomic Research Institute at the Edwards Cancer Center, where the role of nutrition and cancer is an investigated topic, we have been focusing on the effects that various diet components have on the growth and survival of the root of cancer, i.e. the cancer stem-like cells.

We have developed a culturing method that enables the selection and proliferation of cancer stem-like cells (CSLCs) from patient tumor biopsies. We have also shown that primary cancer cell cultures generated in our lab from patient biopsies contain CSLCs, express stem cell markers, and are highly tumorigenic in nude mice. Based on our ability to establish primary cell culture from human cancer biopsies and to select and proliferate CSLCs from the same clinical tumor samples, we have set up a chemosensitivity drug assay, the ChemoID assay, which compares the sensitivity of CSLCs vs. bulk of tumor cells to chemotherapy. We are using this method to predict tailored chemotherapy strategies for lung, brain/spine, and breast cancer tumors in phase-I clinical trials.


Tumor growth inhibition of human lung carcinoma cells in nude mice and the average tumor volume over time of two separate studies. At day 15, tumors were transduced with an intratumoral injection (20 ml) of a solution containing 5 x 106retroviruses carrying the puromycin resistance gene alone (a and b), the lacZ gene (c and d), or the p130 gene (e and f).

Selected Publications

Aimola P, Desiderio V, Graziano A, Claudio PP. Stem cells in cancer therapy: From their role in pathogenesis to their use as therapeutic agents. Drug News Perspect 2010 Apr; 23 (3): 175-183.

Cortese A, Savastano M, Savastano G, Papa F, Howard CM, Claudio PP. Maxillary Constriction Treated by a New Palatal Distractor Device: Surgical and Occlusal Evaluations of 10 Patients. J Craniofac Surg 2010 Feb 24.

Adelaide Greco, Altomare DiBenedetto, Candace Howard, Sarah Kelly, Yulia Dementieva, Michele Miranda, Arturo Brunetti, Marco Salvatore, Luigi Claudio, Devanand Sarkar, Paul B. Fisher, and Pier Paolo Claudio. Eradication of therapy-resistant human prostate tumors using an ultrasound guided site-specific Mda7/IL-24 cancer terminator virus. Mol Ther 2010 Feb; 18 (2): 295-306.

Kelly SE, Di Benedetto A, Greco A, Howard CM, Sollars VE, Primerano DA, et al. Rapid selection and proliferation of CD133+ cells from cancer cell lines: chemotherapeutic implications. PLoS One 2010; 5 (4): e10035.

Manuela Vattemi and Pier Paolo Claudio. The feasibility of Gene Therapy in the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer. Head and Neck Oncology. Invited Review Article. Head Neck Oncol. 2009 Jan 12;1(1):3.

Manuela Vattemi and Pier Paolo Claudio. CONTUSUGENE LADENOVEC. Monograph, Drugs of the Future 2009, 34(3):1-6.

Sammartino G, Tia M, Gentile E, Marenzi G, Claudio PP. Platelet-rich plasma and resorbable membrane for prevention of periodontal defects after deeply impacted lower third molar extraction. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2009 Nov; 67 (11) : 2369-2373.

Vogiatzi P, Cassone M, Claudio L, Claudio PP. Targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer: Looking through new lenses. Drug News Perspect 2009 Dec; 22 (10): 593-601.

Francesco Papa, Claudio Banzi, Maria Cristina Maltarello, Elio D’Agostino, Pierpaolo Aimola, Mauro Farella, Antonio Cortese, Raffaele Sagliocco and Pier Paolo Claudio. Outcome of 47 consecutive sinus lift operations using aragonitic calcium carbonate associated with autologous platelet-rich plasma: clinical, histologic, and histomorphometrical evaluations. J Craniofac Surg 2009 Nov; 20 (6): 2067-2074.

Gilberto Sammartino, Gaetano Marenzi, Candace Howard, Oreste Trosino, Corrado Minimo, Luigi Califano, and Pier Paolo Claudio. Chondrosarcoma of the jaw: an anterior mandibular localization. A case report with a four-year S. E. Kelly, Di Benedetto A., Valluri, J.V., Claudio, P.P. Selection and Proliferation of Stem Cells. Gravitational and Space Biology, 2008.

Bagella, Tiziana Tonini, Giuliano Cottone, Pier Paolo Claudio, Marco G. Paggi, Antonio Giovanni Abbadessa, Paraskevi Vogiatzi, Lorenza Rimassa and Pier Paolo Claudio. Antiangiogenic drugs currently used for colorectal cancer: what other pathways can we target to prolong responses? Drug News and Perspectives, June 2007, 20 (5), 1-7.

Candace M. Howard and Pier Paolo Claudio. Meeting report of the 2006 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Molecular imaging: Novel techniques that not only visualize cellular changes driving disease processes before they become apparent anatomically, but also useful therapeutic tools for multiple diseases? Drugs of the Future, 2007.

Emanuela Vattemi and Pier Paolo Claudio. Advances and Perspectives of Gene- Based therapy for Brest Cancer. Drugs Fut 32(6): 507, 2007.

Emanuela Vattemi and Pier Paolo Claudio. Tumor Suppressor Genes as Cancer Therapeutics Drugs News Perspectives Oct;20 (8):511-20, 2007.

Paraskevi Vogiatzi, Pierpaolo Aimola, Scarano M. Irene and Pier Paolo Claudio. Epigenome: from the control of cell growth to cancer. Drug News Perspectives Dec;20(10):627-33, 2007.

Caracciolo V, Reiss K, Crozier-Fitzgerald C, De Pascali F, Macaluso M, Khalili K, et al. Interplay between the retinoblastoma related pRb2/p130 and E2F-4 and -5 in relation to JCV-TAg. J Cell Physiol 2007 Jul; 212 (1): 96-104.

De Falco, G., Leucci, E., Lenze, D., Piccaluga, PP, Claudio, PP, Onnis, A., Cerino, G., Nyagol, J., Mwanda, W., Bellan, C., Hummel, M., Pileri, S., Tosi, P., Stein, H., Giordano, A., Leoncini, L. Gene-expression analysis identifies novel RBL2/p130 target genes in endemic Burkitt’s lymphoma cell lines and primary tumors. Blood. 2007 Aug 15;110(4):1301-7.

De Luca, Antonio Giordano. A small molecule based on the pRb2/p130 spacer domain leads to inhibition of cdk2 activity and cell cycle arrest. Oncogene, 2007 Mar 22;26(13):1829-39.

Eliseo Mattioli, Paraskevi Vogiatzi, Ang Sun, Giovanni Abbadessa, Giulia Angeloni, Domenico D’Ugo, Daniela Trani, John P. Gaughan, Fabio Maria Vecchio, Gabriele Cevenini, Roberto Persiani, Antonio Giordano, and Pier Paolo Claudio. Immunohistochemical analysis of pRb2/p130, VEGF, EZH2, p53, p16 INK4A, p27KIP1, p21WAF1, Ki-67 expression patterns in gastric cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2007 Jan; 210(1):183-91.

Paraskevi Vogiatzi, Marco Cassone, and Pier Paolo Claudio. On the road to personalizing gene therapy in gastric cancer: proposals for transforming dreams into reality. Drug News Perspect. 2006 Nov;19(9):533-40.

Howard, C.M., Forsberg F., Liu, J.B., Merton D.A., Minimo C., Pier Paolo Claudio. Ultrasound guided site specific gene delivery system using adenoviral vectors and commercial ultrasound contrast agents. Journal Cell Physiology 2006 Nov; 209 (2):413- 21.

Vogiatzi, P., Abbadessa, G., Cassone, M., Claudio, P.P. The limitless role of p53 in cell cycle machinery: good news or bad news? Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Sep; 5(9):1090-3.

Genovese C., Trani D., Caputi M., Claudio, P.P. Cell cycle control and beyond: emerging roles for the retinoblastoma gene family. Oncogene. 2006 Aug 28;25(38):5201-9.

Vattemi M, and Claudio PP. Adenoviral gene therapy in head and neck cancer. Drug News Perspect. 2006 Jul-Aug;19 (6):329-37.

Merola E. Claudio PP, Giordano A. p53 and the malignant progression of Barrett’s esophagus. J Cell Physiol. Mar; 2006 (3):574-7, 2006.

Giacinti L., Claudio P.P., Giordano A. Epigenetic Information and Estrogen Receptor Alfa Expression in Breast Cancer. The Oncologist, 2006 Jan;11(1):1-8.

Francesca Sanseverino, Rosa Santopietro, Michela Torricelli, Giuseppina D’Andrilli, Gabriele Cevenini, Alessandro Bovicelli, Lorenzo Leoncini, Giovanni Scambia, Felice Petraglia, Antonio Giordano and Pier Paolo Claudio. pRb2/p130 and VEGF expressions in endometrial carcinoma in relation to angiogenesis and tumor histopathologic grade. Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Jan 22;5(1).

Elettra Merola, Eliseo Mattioli, Corrado Minimo, Weineng Zuo, Carla Rabitti, Michele Cicala, Renato Caviglia, Lucio Pollice, Antonio Giordano and Pier Paolo Claudio. Immunohistochemical evaluation of pRb2/p130, VEGF, EZH2, p53, p16, p21waf-1, p27, and PCNA in Barrett’s Esophagus. Journal Cell Physiology, 207(2): 512-9, 2006.

Vogiatzi, P, De Falco G., Claudio PP, Giordano A. How Does the Human RUNX3 Gene Induce Apoptosis in Gastric Cancer? Latest Data, Reflections and Reactions. Cancer Biol Ther. (4):371-374, 2006.

Abbadessa G., Santoro A., and Claudio P.P. Meeting Report: 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) June 2-6, 2006, Atlanta, GA. Drugs of the Future 31:(7), 2006.

Antonio Graziano, Vincenzo Desiderio, and Pier Paolo Claudio. Stem cells in tissue engineering for therapeutic use, a promising tool or an approachable reality? Drugs Future 31(12): 1117, 2006.

Pier Paolo Claudio, Chiara Mariano, Sujatha Radhakrishnan, Kamel Khalili, Mahmut Safak, Antonio Giordano, Shohreh Amini, and Bassel E Sawaya. Phosphorylation of p53 by cdk9 prevents HIV-1 gene transcription and viral replication. Journal Cell Physiology 208(3): 602-612, 2006.

For a list of publications prior to 2006, click here.

Laboratory Personnel

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.

Miranda Carper – Ph.D. Candidate

Allison M. Wolf – Ph.D. Candidate

Sarah Mathis – Ph.D. Student

Rounak Nande – Ph.D. Student

Walter Neto, M.D.

Michael Dodrill – M.D. Student

Matt Zachary Baker – M.S. Student – Biological Sciences

Benji Pyles – M.S. Student – Biological Sciences

James Joseph DeMarco Jr. – Undergraduate Student