Jenny Zilberberg, Ph.D., is an Associate Member of the Center for Discovery and Innovation.
Dr. Zilberberg’s current research interest focuses on the biology of multiple myeloma (MM). Preclinical testing in MM has been hampered by the lack of an available system that enables the ex vivo maintenance of primary patient-derived MM cells. To address this issue, she has been fruitfully collaborating with researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology since 2010. Together, they have undertaken the challenge of developing technologies to reproduce the bone/bone marrow microenvironment of MM as well as other malignancies that reside in, or metastasize to, the bone marrow niche.
This transdisciplinary effort has resulted in the establishment of novel tissue engineering platforms, which we showed to be suitable for: (1) the ex vivo preservation of MM and the recapitulation of key environmental cues present in vivo in the tumor niche, leading to osteolytic lesions, and (2) culturing primary murine and human osteocytes while preserving ex vivo the production of sclerostin and FGF23: two key in vivo markers of primary osteocytes. To the best of their knowledge, this is the first time this has been accomplished.
They are further developing and validating these osteomimetic platforms as a means of: (1) conducting preclinical drug evaluation, (2) developing personalized drug cocktail selection for patients with relapsed MM, (3) studying mechanisms responsible for drug resistance and relapse in MM, and (4) exploring the interactions of prostate cancer cells with bone.
In the field of cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Zilberberg has worked extensively with various tumor models of hematological malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia and MM murine models, in order to potentiate the graft-versus-tumor effects of bone marrow transplantation while ameliorating complications such as graft-versus-host disease through characterization and modulation of the tumor microenvironment and its immune cells.