Carlos Telleria, PhD
McGill University Health Center
Proteotoxic Stress Therapy in Ovarian Cancer
The majority of ovarian cancers recur 18-24 months after first responding to chemotherapy. Residual cells hide out in the abdominal cavity and often become unresponsive to current chemotherapy when they grow back. Dr. Telleria researches therapies that would be administered chronically after chemotherapy to prevent recurrence. A class of drugs called antiprogestins is not currently used in ovarian cancer treatment, but Dr. Telleria has demonstrated that these agents block growth of ovarian cancer cells even after the cells become resistant to standard chemotherapy. Antiprogestins work by allowing abnormal proteins to accumulate in a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causing stress to the cell. Dr. Telleria hypothesizes that he can cause more stress and quicker cell death by treating with a proteasome inhibitor in combination with the antiprogestin drug. The proteasome inhibitor would prevent the breakdown and recycling of abnormal proteins in the cell, leading to faster and more dramatic build up of defective proteins and killing the cancer cell. If further testing proves successful, this therapy could be used as a long-term treatment to turn a fatal recurring cancer into a survivable disease.