[img src=”images/research/ChristinaAnnunziata.jpg” alt=”Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD”]

Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD

  • National Cancer Institute

Characterization of NF-kB signaling as a therapeutic target in ovarian cancer

The NF-kB family of transcription factors has been implicated in the increase of ovarian cancer cell lines, but the significance and the mechanism of signaling is unknown. Initial experiments identified a subset of ovarian cancer cell lines that are dependent on NF-kB signaling for growth and survival. Dr. Annunziata, with the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Elise Kohn, will investigate the hypothesis that constitutive NF-kB signaling defines a subset of ovarian cancer susceptible to therapeutic targeting of this pathway.

[img src=”images/research/KerenLevanon.jpg” alt=”Keren Levanon, MD, PhD”]

Keren Levanon, MD, PhD

  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Fallopian Tube as field of origin of ovarian serous carcinoma

Research on ovarian carcinogenesis has traditionally focused on the ovarian surface epithelium as the fields of origin. More recently, the secretory cell of the fallopian tube has emerged as an alternate cell-of-origin for ovarian and pelvic serous carcinomas, the most aggressive subtype of the disease. Under the direction of mentors Dr. Ron Drapkin and Dr. Christopher Crum, the ultimate goal of this project is to elucidate the fundamental processes that lead to ovarian serous tumorigenesis.

[img src=”images/research/JeanBernardLazaro.jpg” alt=”Jean-Bernard Lazaro, PhD”]

Jean-Bernard Lazaro, PhD

  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Targeting DNA repair genes and the nucleolar proteome to increase cisplatin sensitivity in ovarian cancer

Patients with ovarian cancer who are treated with cisplatin often develop resistance to the drug, as cisplatin acts by damaging cellular DNA, which in turn induces apoptosis. Repair of cisplatin-induced DNA damage by a few cancer cells may cause recurrence of a chemo-resistant cancer. It is likely that controlling the mechanism leading to cisplatin resistance would greatly enhance the efficiency of cisplatin therapy. Dr. Lazaro will work with his mentor, Dr. J. Dirk Iglehart, to define molecular targets to improve cisplatin sensitivity.

[img src=”images/research/JasonWilken.jpg” alt=”Jason Wilken, PhD, BS”]

Jason Wilken, PhD, BS

  • Yale University

Overcoming Primary Herceptin Resistance in Ovarian Cancer

Herceptin, a therapeutic antibody that targets ErbB2 and has a well-tolerated safety profile has proven exceptionally useful as a treatment for ErbB2+ breast cancer patients. Surprisingly, Herceptin has proven to be ineffective as a treatment option for ovarian cancer. Dr. Wilken, with the guidance of his mentors Dr. Andre Baron and Dr. Nita Maihle, will study why ovarian tumors and cells exhibit primary resistance to Herceptin treatment and test the hypothesis that primary Herceptin resistant ovarian cancers become predictably susceptible to alternate ErbB-targeted therapies, based on Herceptin-induced changes in ErbB receptor expression.