Adam Karpf, PhD
University of Nebraska Medical Center
2018 Kirwin-Hinton Bridge Funding Award
Rhno1 in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most common and deadly form of ovarian cancer, accounting for about 25,000 cases and 15,000 deaths in the United States every year. New and improved therapies are critically needed for HGSOC. Drugs targeting proteins that respond to “stress” during DNA replication have shown promise, with some being tested in clinical trials for several types of cancers.
Dr. Karpf’s research project focuses on a protein called Rhno1, which is also involved in this stress response process. Early studies have shown that increased amounts of Rhno1 are found in high-grade serous ovarian cancer and are associated with lower survival in patients. In lab experiments, increased Rhno1 levels have been shown to promote the growth and survival of ovarian cancer cells.
In this Bridge Funding Award study, Dr. Karpf will develop two different kinds of mouse models in which Rhno1 function or levels are changed to understand how change in Rhno1 leads to ovarian cancer. This study is important as levels of Rhno1 may affect how patients respond to new therapies (i.e.Wee1, ATR, Chk1 inhibitors) that target cell replication stress. Additionally, Rhno1 may itself be an effective target for which therapies can be developed in future studies.