Resham Bhattacharya, PhD
Therapeutic targeting of Bmi-1 in ovarian cancer
While platinum-based drugs continue to be the foundation of therapy for ovarian cancer, chemoresistance remains the main challenge for effective management of recurrent disease. The development of new therapeutic strategies to combat ovarian cancer is needed. This study will examine the therapeutic potential of Bmi-1, a polycomb group (PcG) gene, in ovarian cancer and chemoresistance. Bmi-1 plays a key role in regulating the ability of normal stem and progenitor cells to grow. This group showed that ovarian cancer cell lines and tumor tissue have a higher Bmi-1 expression than normal ovary cells. They also found that a micro-RNA that regulates Bmi-1 when present in sufficient quantities is less abundant in ovarian cancer. Finally, they showed that reducing Bmi-1 in cancer cells made the cell less able to grow and susceptible to chemotherapy. Bmi-1 potentially plays a key role in mediating drug resistance in ovarian cancer. As such, Dr. Bhattacharya and her team will evaluate the clinical significance of Bmi-1 in ovarian cancer by comparing gene expression to stage/grade and outcome and determine the benefit of targeting Bmi-1 in disease progression in a mouse model.