John Chute, MD

John Chute, M.D. 

Professor of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, Radiation Oncology; Director, Outpatient Stem Cell Transplantation Program

Bio

John Chute, M.D., is a physician-scientist who studies blood-forming stem cells. These cells, also known as hematopoietic stem cells, have the capacity to self-renew and give rise to all cell types found in the blood and immune system. Chute seeks to identify how the microenvironment, or ‘niche,’ that supports and surrounds blood-forming stem cells regulates their ability to regenerate and produce blood and immune cells. His ultimate goal is to translate these findings to develop treatments for a wide range of blood diseases and cancers, and to help patients whose immune systems have been compromised by treatments like chemotherapy recover.

Chute’s laboratory has made several key discoveries that have advanced the field’s understanding of blood-forming stem cell biology and regeneration. He discovered that endothelial cells — the cells that make up the lining of blood vessels—play a key role in blood-forming stem cell regeneration and identified two proteins that are essential to this process. He also pinpointed a gene, Grb10, a protein, DKK1, and an enzyme, ALDH1, which are all capable of accelerating or dampening blood-forming stem cell self-renewal. The Chute lab is working to leverage these discoveries to inform the development of drugs that boost blood-forming stem cell regeneration. Chute’s team is also using this knowledge to uncover how leukemia stem cells fuel their growth in order to develop cellular therapies to halt this process.

Chute also discovered a genetic signature of toxic amounts of unintended radiation exposure that can be detected by a blood test within hours. This finding is informing the development of a novel blood test that would be critical following a nuclear disaster or attack, when first responders need to quickly measure radiation exposure en masse and determine who requires immediate treatment.

Chute’s clinical responsibilities as the Director of UCLA Health’s Outpatient Stem Cell Transplantation program inspire his efforts to develop therapies to expedite recovery after bone marrow transplants. He studies how transplanted blood-forming stem cells begin to replicate upon arrival in human bone marrow in order to identify new drugs that could accelerate this process. Through this research, he and his collaborators discovered a protein called PTP sigma that sits on the surface of blood-forming stem cells and regulates engraftment, the process by which blood-forming stem cells start to grow and reproduce in the bone marrow after transplantation. In pre-clinical studies, Chute found that blocking this protein led to a 15-fold increase in blood-forming stem cell engraftment. He is now working to develop a drug that can block this protein and increase the engraftment of blood-forming stem cells following bone marrow transplant, which could accelerate the recovery of patients’ blood systems after common cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Chute earned a medical degree from Georgetown University and completed his residency and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the National Naval Medical Center/ the National Cancer Institute.

Publications

Honors & Affiliations

Honors

  • Elected member, American Society of Clinical Investigation, 2010
  • Health Care Heroes Award, Triangle Business Journal, 2010

Affiliations

  • American Society of Hematology
  • American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Advisory board, NYSTEM/Cornell University research program

Funding

Chute’s research is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.