Stem Cell Therapeutics
Dr. Frank's laboratory research focuses on the physiological and pathological roles of the human P-glycoprotein family of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. His laboratory has cloned and characterized a novel human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, ABCB5, which marks mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) subpopulations in human and murine skin. Dr. Frank's work has demonstrated a unique regulatory role of ABCB5 in the newly recognized phenomenon of stem cell fusion, and in cell fusion-dependent growth and differentiation. The identification and characterization of ABCB5 P-glycoprotein as a marker of adult skin-associated stem cells has allowed Dr. Frank's laboratory to initiate studies regarding the differentiation plasticity and immunomodulatory capacity of this unique cell subset in vitro and in vivo. Thus, current and future research efforts of Dr. Frank's laboratory are geared towards using adult skin-derived ABCB5+ stem cells as a transplantable cell source for novel therapeutic applications in tissue engineering and regeneration, and for stem cell-based modulation of transplant allograft rejection and autoimmune disorders.
Cancer Stem Cell Multidrug Resistance
Dr. Frank's laboratory has also shown that ABCB5 serves as a multidrug resistance transporter in human malignant melanoma, confering resistance to chemotherapy in vitro. Subsequent work has shown that ABCB5 expression 1) marks melanoma cells of stem cell phenotype and function; 2) correlates with tumorigenic growth of melanoma cells in vivo; and 3) is more abundant in human malignant melanoma than in benign melanocytic nevi in human patients. In tandem with fundamental approaches to further establish ABCB5 as an identifier of melanoma stem cells and to characterize the functional roles of ABCB5 in physiological and cancer stem cells, Dr. Frank's laboratory explores the clinical relevance of ABCB5 as a biomarker of melanoma progression, prognosis, and outcome, and to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of ABCB5 targeting in preclinical animal models of human malignant melanoma.
About Markus Frank, MD
Dr. Frank is a 1989 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University in the field of Biochemistry and a 1992 M.D. graduate of the University of Heidelberg School of Medicine in Germany. Between 1994 and 1997 Dr. Frank received his internal medicine residency training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and from 1997-2001 his fellowship training in nephrology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston. Following a year of clinical nephrology training, Dr. Frank entered transplantation immunology research training under the mentorships of Drs. Mohamed Sayegh and David Briscoe at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Transplantation Research Center at Harvard Medical School, as an Associate Physician in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Renal Division, and as Staff Scientist in the Division of Nephrology at Children's Hospital Boston and the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.