Young Min Chung, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Targeting Ovarian Cancer with Combination of Olaparib and Trifluoperazine
Dr. Chung is developing innovative therapeutic strategies by combining a clinically used small-molecule drug called trifluoperazine (TFP) and a chemical compound named Olaparib, which is an inhibitor of an enzyme called PARP, to suppress advanced ovarian cancer and to overcome PARP inhibitor-unresponsive ovarian cancer. In addition, novel biomarkers will be identified for monitoring therapeutic sensitivities in ovarian cancer. Ultimately, the results of this project will be used to design a clinical trial to treat patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
2011 Gilman Family Scholar
John Liao, MD, PhD
University of Washington
Development of a Polyepitope DNA Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy
While ovarian cancer patients can respond to chemotherapy and achieve remission, the majority of advanced stage patients succumb to recurrent disease. Strategies harnessing the immune system have the potential to augment available therapies, prolong remissions, and prevent relapses. Vaccines generating immune responses against proteins in ovarian cancer cells could offer a possibility of selectively killing those cells. Dr. Liao has identified 6 proteins associated with poor prognosis. Vaccines targeting fragments of these 6 proteins will then be tested in a mouse model for ovarian cancer to evaluate safety and effectiveness in preparation for clinical trials.
Fiona Simpkins, MD
University of Miami
Characterization of Subpopulations Capable of Self-Renewal in Ovarian Cancers
Most ovarian cancer patients suffer disease recurrence, and most available chemotherapies are toxic and stop working. Cancer stem cells comprise a subpopulation of cells capable of self-renewal and are resistant to chemotherapy. By characterizing such subpopulations and determining which signaling pathways drive their growth, Dr. Simpkins would like to develop better strategies to target these subpopulations and overcome drug resistance. This project will characterize the self-renewal potential of cell populations expressing different surface markers suggestive of "stemness" in ovarian cancer, determine developmental and mitogenic signaling pathways unique to these populations, and determine how targeted treatments effect these subpopulations.