Congratulations to Dr. Karen Cowden-Dahl on her new grant from the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program entitled “ARID3B Induces CD133-Mediated Homing to the Ovarian Cancer Metastatic Niche”.
Epithelial ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Importantly, over 70% of woman with ovarian cancer will not survive beyond 5 years of diagnosis. The vast majority of ovarian cancer patients have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Patients that undergo surgery and chemotherapy usually respond to the therapy; however most patients will eventually relapse and succumb to the disease. Tumor initiating cells (TICs) that express stem cell markers are thought to initiate new tumors contributing to tumor progression and lethality. The central problem the Cowden-Dahl lab is studying is how are TICs recruited to sites where they will initiate new tumor metastases. They have found that a gene called ARID3B is overexpressed in the most common type of ovarian cancer (serous) and moderate expression of ARID3B in the nucleus correlates with relapse after chemotherapy. Future studies are aimed at dissecting how ARID3B promotes tumor growth and regulates expression of TIC genes. Longterm goals of the project are to provide critical information on how ovarian TIC/cancer stem cells interact with their environment during the process of metastasis and to generate evidence supporting the feasibility of targeting TICs as a treatment option. In addition to supporting the research project, the award also includes support for a Teal Scholar post-doctoral fellow. Preliminary data collection for this project was supported in part by a Walther Cancer Foundation Seeding Research in Cancer (SRC) award