Emanuela Grassilli, Ph.D.
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (University of Milano – Bicocca)
Project: p65BTK as an actionable target in ovarian cancer
Research Area: Novel Therapy
Dr. Grassilli proposes to test treatment of ovarian cancer with drugs that target a protein called p65BTK which is expressed by ovarian cancer cells. She recently identified p65BTK as a protein that is present at high levels in colon cancer and showed that the function of the protein can be blocked by a drug called Ibrutinib to kill those cancer cells. Her initial studies showed that in colon cancer and some lung cancer cells, Ibrutinib could kill even cells that are resistant to currently used chemotherapy drugs. Dr. Grassilli also did initial studies in ovarian cancer cells and showed that they too can be killed by this method. In the Rivkin-funded study, Dr. Grassilli will expand on this work to understand how this treatment might work, both on its own and when combined with currently use chemotherapy, in the context of different genetic backgrounds commonly seen in ovarian cancer. She will also study how response to the drug changes in ovarian cancer cells that express different levels of p65BTK, the target protein of Ibrutinib.