18330-Rhodes, Steven

Steven D. Rhodes, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

RI 4340
Indianapolis, IN
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Steven Rhodes, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. His clinical and research focus is on neurofibromatosis (NF). The Rhodes laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the progression of plexiform (PNF) and atypical neurofibroma (ANF) precursor tumors to a deadly form of sarcoma called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), the leading cause of death in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Dr. Rhodes serves as the Site Principal Investigator at Indiana University within the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trial Consortium (NFCTC), a multi-institutional collaborative dedicated to conducting clinical trials for the treatment of NF complications. As a pediatric oncologist, his clinical practice is devoted to caring for patients with NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis as Co-Director of the Neurofibromatosis Multidisciplinary Program at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, providing comprehensive multi-subspecialty care, access to the latest clinical trials and personalized treatment strategies guided by cancer genomics and bench-to-bedside translational studies in the laboratory.

Key Publications

Exploring transcriptional regulators Ref-1 and STAT3 as therapeutic targets in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours. Gampala S, Shah F, Zhang C, Rhodes SD, Babb O, Grimard M, Wireman RS, Rad E, Calver B, Bai RY, Staedtke V, Hulsey EL, Saadatzadeh MR, Pollok KE, Tong Y, Smith AE, Clapp DW, Tee AR, Kelley MR, Fishel ML. Br J Cancer. 2021 Apr;124(9):1566-1580. PMID: 33658640

Cabozantinib for neurofibromatosis type 1-related plexiform neurofibromas: a phase 2 trial. Fisher MJ±, Shih CS±, Rhodes SD, Armstrong AE, Walter PL, Dombi E, Zhang C, Angus SP, Johnson GL, Packer RJ, Allen JC, Ulrich NJ, Goldman S, Gutmann DH, Plotkin SR, Rosser T, Robertson KA, Wideman BC, Smit AE, Bessler WK, He Y, Park SJ, Mund JA, Jiang L, Bijangi-Vishehsaraei K, Robinson CT, Cutter GR, Korf B, Blakeley JO, Clapp DW. Nat Med 2021 Jan;27(1):165-173. PMID 33442015.

A molecular basis for neurofibroma-associated skeletal manifestations in NF1. Ma Y, Gross A, Dombi E, Pemov A, Choi K, Chaney K, Rhodes SD, Angus SP, Sciaky N, Clapp DW, Ratner N, Widemann BC, Rios JJ, Elefteriou F. Genet Med. 2020 Nov;22(11):1786-1793. PMID: 32601387

Genetic disruption of the small GTPase RAC1 prevents plexiform neurofibroma formation in mice with neurofibromatosis type 1. Mund JA, Park SJ, Smith AE, He Y, Jiang L, Hawley E, Roberson MJ, Mitchell DK, Abu-Sultanah M, Yuan J, Bessler WK, Sandusky G, Chen S, Zhang C, Rhodes SD, Clapp DW.  J Biol Chem. 2020 May 29; doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010981. PMID: 32471868.

Early administration of imatinib mesylate reduces plexiform neurofibroma tumor burden with durable results after drug discontinuation in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1. Armstrong, AE, Rhodes SD, Smith A, Chen S, Bessler W, Ferguson MJ, Jiang L, Li X, Yuan J, Yang X, Yang FC, Robertson KA, Ingram DA, Blakeley JO, Clapp DW.  Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020 May 27;e28372. PMID: 32459399.

Brain death secondary to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Encephalitis. Rhodes SD, Teagarden AM, Graner B, Lutfi R, John CC. Case Reports in Critical Care. Published online 2020 May 1. doi: 10.1155/2020/5329420. PMID: 32426169.

Ketotifen modulates mast cell chemotaxis to Kit-ligand but does not impact mast cell numbers, degranulation, or tumor behavior in neurofibromas of Nf1-deficient mice. Burks CA, Rhodes SD, Bessler WK, Chen S, Smith A, Gehlhausen JR, Hawley ET, Jiang L, Li X, Yuan J, Lu Q, Jacobsen M, Sandusky G, Jones DR, Clapp DW, Blakeley J. Mol Cancer Ther. 2019 Dec;18(12):2321-2330. PMID: 31527226.

Cdkn2a (Arf) loss drives NF1-associated atypical neurofibroma and malignant transformation. Rhodes SD, He Y, Smith A, Jiang L, Lu Q, Mund J, Li X, Bessler W, Qian S, Dyer W, Sandusky GE, Horvai AE, Armstrong AE, Clapp DW. Hum Mol Genet. 2019 May 15. pii: ddz095. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddz095. PMID: 31091306.

A proteasome-resistant fragment of NIK mediates oncogenic NF-κB signaling in schwannomas. Gehlhausen JR, Hawley E, Wahle BM, He Y, Edwards D, Rhodes SD, Lajiness JD, Staser K, Chen S, Yang X, Yuan J, Li X, Jiang L, Smith A, Bessler W, Sandusky G, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Stuhlmiller TJ, Angus SP, Johnson GL, Nalepa G, Yates CW, Wade Clapp D, Park SJ. Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Oct 17. PMID: 30335132.

Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Assistant Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
  • Education
    2015 MD Indiana University
    2013 PhD Indiana University
    2007 BA Wabash College
  • Research

    The Rhodes laboratory focuses on the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the progression of plexiform (PNF) and atypical neurofibroma (ANF) precursor tumors to a deadly form of sarcoma called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), the leading cause of death in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). We use a systems biology approach, leveraging patient samples and genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) to study how tumorigenic Schwann cells interact with the immune system to govern the progression of benign and pre-malignant neurofibromas to MPNST. We currently have two lines of investigation (1) understanding how T cells and the Nf1+/- immune microenvironment shape malignant transformation of neurofibromas, and (2) identifying key factors within tumorigenic Schwann cells that drive malignant transformation and reprogram immune microenvironments within the tumor. Our goal is to identify new molecular diagnostic tools that allow for early detection of MPNST as well as tumors at increased risk for undergoing malignant transformation. Furthermore, we are evaluating novel immunotherapy approaches to delay or even prevent MPNST development in preclinical disease models. Ultimately, we hope that this work will accelerate the advancement of innovative clinical trials and inform paradigms for risk adapted care to improve outcomes for patients affected by these devastating tumors.

  • Professional Organizations
    Children's Oncology Group
    Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium (NFCTC)
  • Board Certifications
    American Board of Pediatrics - Pediatrics
  • Clinical Interests

    As a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Rhodes devotes his clinical practice to caring for children with NF-associated neurofibromas, MPNST, optic pathway gliomas, schwannomas, and other related tumors in the context of the Neurofibromatosis Multidisciplinary Clinic at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

  • Awards
    Org: Neurofibromatosis Therapeutics Acceleration Program (NTAP)
    Desc: Francis S. Collins Scholarship in Neurofibromatosis Clinical and Translational Research
    Scope: National
    Date: 2020-07-01
    Org: Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Desc: Grzegorz Nalepa Fellowship Award
    Scope: Department
    Date: 2020-05-01
    Org: Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Desc: Red Shoes Award
    Scope: Department
    Date: 2018-12-01
    Org: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs
    Desc: Fellow of the Pediatric Scientist Development Program
    Scope: National
    Date: 2018-07-01
    Org: Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Desc: Morris Green Physician Scientist Award of Excellence, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine
    Scope: Department
    Date: 2017-05-01
    Org: Indiana University School of Medicine
    Desc: Indiana University School of Medicine Joyce Victoria McRobbie Pediatric Fellowship Award
    Scope: University
    Date: 2015-10-01
    Org: Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Desc: Lyman T. Meiks Research Award in Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Scope: Department
    Date: 2015-05-01

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