Raymond G. Perelman Center for
Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics

Sabatino Laboratory

Denise Sabatino

Denise Sabatino, PhD

Dr. Sabatino is a Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Division of Hematology at CHOP and the Penn-CHOP Blood Center for Patient Care and Discovery. Dr. Sabatino is a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy and the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis. She serves as a Co-Chairman for the Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) Scientific Subcommittee on Animal, Cellular and Molecular Models of Thrombosis) for the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis

The research in the Sabatino Laboratory is focused on the inherited bleeding disorder, hemophilia. The interests of the laboratory include (1) the study of variants of coagulation factor VIII to understand the biochemical properties of these proteins and to identify novel variants with enhanced function and (2) the development of gene-based therapeutic approaches for treating hemophilia.

Hemophilia A is a bleeding disorder caused by mutations in the factor VIII gene. Current treatment for this disease is protein replacement therapy that requires frequent infusion of the factor VIII protein. The major complication of this treatment is the development of an immune response to the factor VIII protein that occurs in ~25% of hemophilia A patients. Using a gene-based approach our goal is to achieve sustained therapeutic levels of factor VIII expression so that patients no longer require frequent protein treatments. The continuous factor VIII expression would prevent bleeding episodes and may ensure that immune tolerance to the protein is established.

In our early work to develop gene therapy for hemophilia A, we used adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors to deliver factor VIII to hemophilia A dogs. In these studies we achieved long-term expression of therapeutic levels of factor VIII. In a collaborative study, we have also used AAV to deliver factor VIII into hemophilia A dogs that had an immune response to the factor VIII protein treatment prior to the administration of AAV to induce tolerance to the factor VIII as well as achieve sustained levels of factor VIII.

Our current research focuses on further optimizing gene transfer for hemophilia A by modulating factor VIII expression and the use of novel gene transfer vectors. The characterization of factor VIII variants that have high specific activity, stability and/or increased secretion may provide a better understanding of factor VIII function and may improve factor VIII expression in gene-based approaches. We are also interested in understanding the cellular processing of factor VIII that may impact its secretion into the circulation and its expression in the setting of gene transfer. Understanding the relationship between factor VIII expression and the immune response to factor VIII will also be important for translation of novel therapeutic approaches for hemophilia A.

Denise Sabatino, PhD. is a Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Sabatino did her undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University and earned her PhD. in Genetics at The George Washington University/National Institutes of Health in the laboratory of Dr. David Bodine at NHGRI. During her postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Katherine High at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she investigated gene transfer for hemophilia B using AAV vectors. Dr. Sabatino joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2008 in the Department of Genetics. In 2010 she joined the Department of Pediatrics and became a member of the Division of Hematology and the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP.

Positions

Year Position
1995-2000 PhD, The George Washington University/National Institutes of Health
2000-2002 National Research Service Award (NRSA) Post-doctoral Research Fellow of the Gene Therapy Program (T32), The University of Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2002-2003 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Individual Training Award (F32), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2003-2005 Post-doctoral Research Fellow, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2005-2007 Research Associate, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2005-2008 Senior Research Investigator, Dept of Genetics, The University of Pennsylvania
2008-2010 Research Assistant Professor, Dept of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, The University of Pennsylvania
2010-present Research Assistant Professor, Dept of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, The University of Pennsylvania

Principal Investigator

Denise Sabatino, PhD

Research Assistant

Giang Nguyen

Research Technicians

Samita Kafle
Rachel Eisen-McGinn, Veterinary Student, University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduate Student, University of Pennsylvania

Alvin Tsuei

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

Liron Elkouby, PhD
Amanda Messer, PhD

Research Assistants

Amy Lange
Ekaterina Altynova

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Samuel Vidal
Jesse Chen
Tanner Dirstine
Timothy Lee
Christian Wood

PubMed: Denise Sabatino, PhD

Recent Publications

Lange AM, Altynova E, Nguyen G, Sabatino DE: Overexpression of factor VIII after AAV delivery is transiently associated with cellular stress in hemophilia A mice. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 3: 16064, 2016.

Nguyen GN, George LA, Siner JI, Davidson RJ, Zander CB, Zheng XL, Arruda VR, Camire RM, Sabatino DE: Novel human factor VIII variants with a modified furin cleavage site improve the efficacy of gene therapy for hemophilia A. J Thromb Haemost 15(1):110-121, 2017.

Sabatino DE, Freguia CF, Toso R, Santos A, Merricks EP, Kazazian HH, Nichols TC, Camire RM, Arruda VR: Recombinant canine B-domain-deleted FVIII exhibits high specific activity and is safe in the canine hemophilia A model. Blood 114(20): 4562-4565, 2009.

Finn JD, Ozelo MC, Sabatino DE, Franck HW, Merricks EP, Crudele JM, Zhou S, Kazazian HH, Lillicrap D, Nichols TC, Arruda VR: Eradication of neutralizing antibodies to factor VIII in canine hemophilia A following liver gene therapy. Blood 116(26): 5842-8, 2010.

Sabatino DE, Lange AM, Altynova ES, Sarkar R, Zhou S, Merricks EP, Franck HG, Nichols TC, Arruda VR, Kazazian HH: Efficacy and safety of long-term prophylaxis in severe hemophilia A dogs following liver gene therapy using AAV vectors. Molecular Therapy 19(3): 442-449, 2011.

Sabatino DE, Nichols TC, Merricks E, Bellinger DA, Herzog RW, Monahan PE: Animal models of hemophilia. Progress in molecular biology and translational science. 105: 151-209, 2012.

Cao W, Sabatino DE, Altynova E, Lange AM, Casina VC, Camire RM, Zheng XL: Light Chain of Factor VIII Is Sufficient for Accelerating Cleavage of von Willebrand Factor by ADAMTS13 Metalloprotease. Journal of Biological Chemistry 287(39): 32459-66, 2012.

Siner JI, Iacobelli NP, Sabatino DE, Ivanciu L, Zhou S, Poncz M, Camire RM, Arruda VR: Minimal modification in the factor VIII B domain sequence ameliorates the murine hemophilia A phenotype. Blood 121(21): 4396-4403, 2013.

Link to all publications

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