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Associate Professor Gabi Dachs

Gabi Dachs

Research Associate Professor

BSc, PhD(Cape Town)

Email gabi.dachs@otago.ac.nz 
Tel 64 3 364 0544

Background

I did my undergraduate and PhD studies in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by post-doctoral work at the MRC in Harwell, UK.

Prior to joining the University of Otago in Christchurch, I worked as senior scientist at the Gray Cancer Institute in London, UK.

Research Interests

I am interested in why human tumours are difficult to treat, and in new ways of treating them.

My interests at present include:

  • Can we dampen the activity of the global transcription factor HIF-1 using vitamin C? Can we reduce tumour growth in mice using vitamin C? Can we increase vitamin C in cancer cells using gene therapy? What is the relationship between ascorbate and HIF-1 in tumours from kidney cancer patients?
  • Why do obese cancer patients often fare worse than non-obese patients? Can we identify the molecular factors associated with obesity in cancer? What effect do these obesity-related factors have on chemotherapy?
  • Which human enzymes are responsible for the activation of novel anticancer prodrugs (in collaboration with Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre)? Can this knowledge guide clinical use of these agents?
  • Can we improve gene directed enzyme prodrug therapy combinations to target solid tumours or their vasculature?

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Publications

Bonifert, G., Folkes, L. K., Gmeiner, C., Dachs, G., & Spadiut, O. (2016). Recombinant horseradish peroxidase variants for targeted cancer treatment. Cancer Medicine. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cam4.668

Campbell, E. J., Vissers, M. C. M., & Dachs, G. U. (2016). Ascorbate availability affects tumor implantation-take rate and increases tumor rejection in Gulo-/- mice. Hypoxia, 4, 41-52. doi: 10.2147/HP.S103088

Campbell, E. J., Vissers, M. C. M., Bozonet, S., Dyer, A., Robinson, B. A., & Dachs, G. U. (2015). Restoring physiological levels of ascorbate slows tumor growth and moderates HIF-1 pathway activity in Gulo−/− mice. Cancer Medicine, 4(2), 303-314. doi: 10.1002/cam4.349

Dachs, G. U., Phillips, E., Phung, Y., Dyer, A., Willis, J. A., Currie, M. J., & Robinson, B. A. (2015). Tumour growth in mice resistant to diet-induced obesity. Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, 4(2), 42-49.

Ernst, C., Phillips, E., Morrin, H., Vissers, M., Robinson, B., & Dachs, G. (2015, October). The role of ascorbate in controlling hypoxia factors in renal cell carcinoma. Poster session presented at the Otago Spotlight Series: Cancer Research, Wellington, New Zealand.

Journal - Research Article

Bonifert, G., Folkes, L. K., Gmeiner, C., Dachs, G., & Spadiut, O. (2016). Recombinant horseradish peroxidase variants for targeted cancer treatment. Cancer Medicine. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cam4.668

Campbell, E. J., Vissers, M. C. M., & Dachs, G. U. (2016). Ascorbate availability affects tumor implantation-take rate and increases tumor rejection in Gulo-/- mice. Hypoxia, 4, 41-52. doi: 10.2147/HP.S103088

Campbell, E. J., Vissers, M. C. M., Bozonet, S., Dyer, A., Robinson, B. A., & Dachs, G. U. (2015). Restoring physiological levels of ascorbate slows tumor growth and moderates HIF-1 pathway activity in Gulo−/− mice. Cancer Medicine, 4(2), 303-314. doi: 10.1002/cam4.349

Dachs, G. U., Phillips, E., Phung, Y., Dyer, A., Willis, J. A., Currie, M. J., & Robinson, B. A. (2015). Tumour growth in mice resistant to diet-induced obesity. Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, 4(2), 42-49.

Kuiper, C., Dachs, G. U., Munn, D., Currie, M. J., Robinson, B. A., Pearson, J. F., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2014). Increased tumour ascorbate is associated with extended disease-free survival and decreased hypoxia-inducible factor-1 activation in human colorectal cancer. Frontiers in Oncology, 4, 10. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00010

Kuiper, C., Dachs, G. U., Currie, M. J., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2014). Intracellular ascorbate enhances hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-hydroxylase activity and preferentially suppresses the HIF-1 transcriptional response. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 69, 308-317. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.01.033

Flett, T., Campbell, E. J., Phillips, E., Vissers, M. C. M., & Dachs, G. U. (2014). Gulonolactone addition to human hepatocellular carcinoma cells with gene transfer of gulonolactone oxidase restores ascorbate biosynthesis and reduces hypoxia inducible factor 1. Biomedicines, 2(1), 98-109. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines2010098

Vissers, M. C. M., Kuiper, C., & Dachs, G. U. (2014). Regulation of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases and implications for cancer. Biochemical Society Transactions, 42(4), 945-951. doi: 10.1042/bst20140118

Kanthou, C., Dachs, G. U., Lefley, D. V., Steele, A. J., Coralli-Foxon, C., Harris, S., … Tozer, G. M. (2014). Tumour cells expressing single VEGF isoforms display distinct growth, survival and migration characteristics. PLoS ONE, 9(8), e104015. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104015

Volkova, E., Robinson, B. A., Willis, J., Currie, M. J., & Dachs, G. U. (2014). Marginal effects of glucose, insulin and insulin-like growth factor on chemotherapy response in endothelial and colorectal cancer cells. Oncology Letters, 7(2), 311-320. doi: 10.3892/ol.2013.1710

Wang, J., Guise, C. P., Dachs, G. U., Phung, Y., Hsu, A. H.-L., Lambie, N. K., … Wilson, W. R. (2014). Identification of one-electron reductases that activate both the hypoxia prodrug SN30000 and diagnostic probe EF5. Biochemical Pharmacology, 91(4), 436-446. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.08.003

Campbell, E. J., & Dachs, G. U. (2014). Current limitations of murine models in oncology for ascorbate research. Frontiers in Oncology, 4, 282. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00282

Currie, M. J., Beardsley, B. E., Harris, G. C., Gunningham, S. P., Dachs, G. U., Dijkstra, B., Morrin, H. R., Wells, J. E., & Robinson, B. A. (2013). Immunohistochemical analysis of cancer stem cell markers in invasive breast carcinoma and associated ductal carcinoma in situ: Relationships with markers of tumor hypoxia and microvascularity. Human Pathology, 44(3), 402-411. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2012.06.004

Hunt, M. A., Li, D., Hay, M. P., Currie, M. J., Robinson, B. A., Patterson, A. V., & Dachs, G. U. (2012). Characterisation of enzyme prodrug gene therapy combinations in coated spheroids and vascular networks in vitro. Journal of Gene Medicine, 14(1), 62-74. doi: 10.1002/jgm.1635

Guise, C. P., Abbattista, M. R., Tipparaju, S. R., Lambie, N. K., Su, J., Li, D., … Dachs, G. U., & Patterson, A. V. (2012). Diflavin oxidoreductases activate the bioreductive prodrug PR-104A under hypoxia. Molecular Pharmacology, 81(1), 31-40. doi: 10.1124/mol.111.073759

MacKenzie, K. A., Miller, A. P., Hock, B. D., Gardner, J., Simcock, J. W., Roake, J. A., Dachs, G. U., Robinson, B. A., & Currie, M. J. (2011). Angiogenesis and host immune response contribute to the aggressive character of non-melanoma skin cancers in renal transplant recipients. Histopathology, 58(6), 875-885. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.03845.x

Volkova, E., Willis, J. A., Wells, J. E., Robinson, B. A., Dachs, G. U., & Currie, M. J. (2011). Association of angiopoietin-2, C-reactive protein and markers of obesity and insulin resistance with survival outcome in colorectal cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 104, 51-59. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6606005

Tupper, J., Stratford, M. R., Hill, S., Tozer, G. M., & Dachs, G. U. (2010). In vivo characterization of horseradish peroxidase with indole-3-acetic acid and 5-bromoindole-3-acetic acid for gene therapy of cancer. Cancer Gene Therapy, 17(6), 420-428. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2009.86

Guise, C. P., Abbattista, M. R., Singleton, R. S., Holford, S. D., Connolly, J., Dachs, G. U., Fox, S. B., Pollock, R., Harvey, J., Guilford, P., … Patterson, A. V. (2010). The bioreductive prodrug PR-104A is activated under aerobic conditions by human aldo-keto reductase 1C3. Cancer Research, 70(4), 1573-1584. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3237

Kuiper, C., Molenaar, I. G. M., Dachs, G. U., Currie, M. J., Sykes, P. H., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2010). Low ascorbate levels are associated with increased hypoxia-inducible factor-1 activity and an aggressive tumor phenotype in endometrial cancer. Cancer Research, 70(14), 5749-5758. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0263

Hunt, M. A., Currie, M. J., Robinson, B. A., & Dachs, G. U. (2010). Optimizing transfection of primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells using commercially available chemical transfection reagents. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques, 21, 66-72.

Dachs, G. U., Kano, M., Volkova, E., Morrin, H. R., Davey, V. C. L., Harris, G. C., … Frampton, C., Currie, M. J., Wells, J. E., & Robinson, B. A. (2010). A profile of prognostic and molecular factors in European and Māori breast cancer patients. BMC Cancer, 10, 543. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-543

Dachs, G. U., Hunt, M. A., Syddall, S., Singleton, D. C., & Patterson, A. V. (2009). Bystander or no bystander for gene directed enzyme prodrug therapy. Molecules, 14(11), 4517-4545. doi: 10.3390/molecules14114517

Dachs, G. U., Currie, M. J., McKenzie, F., Jeffreys, M., Cox, B., Foliaki, S., … Robinson, B. A. (2008). Cancer disparities in indigenous Polynesian populations: Māori, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific people. Lancet Oncology, 9(5), 473-484. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70127-X

Gunningham, S. P., Currie, M. J., Morrin, H. R., Tan, E. Y., Turley, H., Dachs, G. U., Watson, A. I., Frampton, C., Robinson, B. A., & Fox, S. B. (2007). The angiogenic factor thymidine phosphorylase up-regulates the cell adhesion molecule P-selectin in human vascular endothelial cells and is asociated with P-selectin expression in breast cancers. Journal of Pathology, 212, 335-344.

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