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Ovarian Cancer Research Team Receives Development Award

Dr. Richard Roden, Dr. Tian-Li Wang and Dr. Ie-Ming ShihRichard Roden, Ph.D.,Tian-Li Wang, Ph.D., and Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D., have received the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance Collaborative Research Development Grant.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Team at Johns Hopkins, led by 
Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D., the Richard W. TeLinde Distinguished Professor of Gynecologic Pathology, has received the 2017 Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance Collaborative Research Development Grant. This award will help build a new, multidisciplinary research team devoted to developing better treatment modalities to improve clinical outcomes in ovarian cancer patients.

While the mortality rates for many cancers — including lung, breast, cervix, colon and prostate — has dropped over the last decade, the mortality rate for ovarian cancer has not significantly improved. This is strongly related to the issue of drug resistance that often appears in ovarian cancer patients, rendering chemotherapy ineffective and leaving these advanced-stage patients without viable treatment options. Thus, there is an immense need to develop new intervention strategies to overcome drug resistance by studying its molecular mechanisms.

Shih, his team and other key investigators, including Richard Roden, Ph.D., and Tian-Li Wang, Ph.D., from the Department of Pathology, will work on developing these strategies, utilizing the award across three projects:

  • The first project will evaluate an inhibitor for the receptor ADRM1, a key player in the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Inhibiting this receptor may increase the number of cells undergoing cell death, thereby targeting recurrent cancer.
  • The second project will evaluate the efficiency of an SYK tyrosine kinase inhibitor. This inhibitor has been shown to make cells more responsive to paclitaxel-based chemotherapy.
  • The third project will evaluate new inhibitors of PBX1, a molecule that Johns Hopkins scientists have found to be critical to regulate the growth and proliferation of cells with stem cell-like features.

This research will allow the team to test new and various treatment strategies for ovarian cancer, with the hope of reducing the mortality rate of this disease.