Kwan Ho Tang, PhD
New York University
New York, NY, United States
2019 Scientific Scholar Award
Research in Focus: Novel therapies to treat ovarian cancer
Targeting SHP2 and MEK in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
High-grade serous ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological disease. Dr. Tang and colleagues have shown in that a combination treatment of SHP2 inhibitor and MEK inhibitor drugs can effectively target this disease. Importantly, they showed in some cancer models that the combination treatment blocks tumor growth directly and modifies the immune environment of the tumor to make it less favorable for the tumor. In this study, Dr. Tang and colleagues propose detailed investigations of the effect of SHP2/MEK inhibition in novel mouse models of high grade serous ovarian cancer, which have their native, functional immune system. The results of this study would provide a comprehensive understanding of both direct and indirect effects of SHP2/MEK inhibition in high grade serous ovarian cancer, a disease that often demonstrates heavy infiltration of immune cells. This would also allow Dr. Tang and colleagues to design more sophisticated and effective strategies in targeting the disease through combination of immune modulating agents. Given that two different MEK inhibitors are now approved drugs, and two SHP2 inhibitors are currently in Phase I human trials, their results could have immediate relevance for ovarian cancer patients.