Mark Eckert, PhD
University of Chicago
Targeting T-LAK cell-originated protein kinase (TOPK) for ovarian cancer therapy
Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal cancers due to a lack of effective therapies. Dr. Eckert’s lab recently found that the protein T-LAK cell-originated protein kinase (TOPK) is expressed in ovarian cancer cells, but not most normal tissues. TOPK has roles in multiple cellular processes including DNA damage response, cell division, and metastasis. Excitingly, a small molecule inhibitor of TOPK was recently developed that has minimal toxicity to normal cells but effectively kills TOPK-expressing ovarian cancer cells, including cells from ovarian cancer patients. Dr. Eckert’s project will investigate the biological roles of TOPK in regulating ovarian cancer progression and directly test the efficacy and safety of TOPK inhibitors in patient samples and models of ovarian cancer.