Christina Gewinner, PhD
University College London
2012 Skacel Family Scholar
Identification of novel drug targets for INPP4B-deficient ovarian tumours
Dr. Gewinner’s lab has previously identified a gene called inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B) which no longer functions in approximately 40% of ovarian tumors. Patients with such tumors have poor survival rates. She has demonstrated that INPP4B deficiency is similar to BRCA1/2 mutations in that DNA repair is defective in cells which harbor these deficiencies. Recently in clinical trials, inhibitors that target DNA repair enzymes have been used to treat ovarian cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations. These inhibitors are effective at forcing tumor cells to undergo cell death. Because of the similarity of INPP4B deficiency to BRCA1/2, Dr. Gewinner hypothesizes that INPP4B-deficient ovarian tumors may also respond to inhibitor treatment and that INPP4B can be used as a predictive diagnostic biomarker.