[img src=”images/research/georgee.jpg” alt=”Erin George, MD”]

Erin George, MD

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • 2016 Skacel Family Scholar

Targeting the ATR/CHK1 pathway in high grade serous ovarian cancer with ATR inhibitors

New treatments are needed for recurrent ovarian cancer, a subset of which is more aggressive than the original cancer and has no effective treatment. Aggressive recurrent cancers rely on DNA repair pathways, involving proteins called ATR and CHK1, to repair damage to DNA caused by chemotherapy. Dr. George will target this pathway with a novel ATR inhibitor to stop cell growth and tumor formation, using new ovarian cancer models derived from patients’ recurrent tumors. These findings may have major clinical implications for the treatment of this aggressive and often chemotherapy resistant type of ovarian cancer.

[img src=”images/research/merrittm.jpg” alt=”Melissa Merritt, PhD”]

Melissa Merritt, PhD

  • Imperial College London

Obesity-related factors and ovarian cancer survival

Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a poor prognosis, and there are currently no recommendations for lifestyle modifications that may influence survival after a diagnosis. Dr. Merritt will evaluate whether obesity-related factors, including Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, physical activity, and adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations, influences ovarian cancer survival. The long-term goal of this study is to identify whether pre-diagnostic obesity-related factors may influence survival among women with ovarian cancer. If so, clinical recommendations could be developed so that patients may be able to improve their health and prognosis following an ovarian cancer diagnosis.

[img src=”images/research/pepind.jpg” alt=”David Pepin, PhD”]

David Pepin, PhD

  • Massachusetts General Hospital

AAV9 gene therapy using a novel engineered MIS to treat ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer tumors are made up mostly of cells that respond well to chemotherapy, but a minority of stem-like cells survive treatment and ultimately lead to chemoresistant recurrence. However, this type of cancer stem cell is inhibited by Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS). Dr. Pepin is evaluating a modified version of MIS, which has been engineered to have greater potency, as well as an alternative delivery mechanism using viral gene therapy, in preclinical trials. The goal of the study is to develop gene therapy as a supplement to the current standard of care and would offer permanent protection from chemoresistant recurrences after initial surgery and chemotherapy.