Tao Wu, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine
2020 Scientific Scholar Award
Targeting Epigenetic Landscape Reprogramming to Combat Drug-resistance in Ovarian Cancer
Despite major improvements in therapeutic approaches to ovarian cancer, the ability of tumors to develop resistance to anti-cancer drugs remains the major challenge in achieving longer-lasting remission. One of the ways drug resistance is thought to arise is through molecular marks on DNA known as epigenetic marks. Epigenetic marks are not mutations but they can change how many genes are expressed. Dr. Wu previously discovered that cancer cells that survive treatment have altered expression of genes because of a new epigenetic mark called N6-methyladenine. Dr. Wu’s data indicate that N6-methyladenine may be an Achilles’ heel of drug-resistant cancer cells. This study will use sequencing technologies to discover the genetic mutations that lead to N6-methyladenine and, thereby, drug resistance. The findings will define novel mechanisms of resistance and open the door to developing new strategies to prevent or bypass the emergence of drug resistance.