(July 30, 2015) Recurrent ovarian cancer patients have more hope today, thanks to OCRF-funded research by David Pepin, PhD at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Pepin and his colleagues found that gene therapy that delivers a protein that suppresses the development of female reproductive organs may improve survival rates in patients with ovarian cancer that has recurred after chemotherapy. The research was published online in PNAS Early Edition.
The research team describes how a single injection of a modified version of Mullerian Inhibiting Substance, a protein critical to sexual development, carried on a commonly used viral vector suppressed the growth of chemotherapy-resistant ovarian tumors in a mouse model. While not all the tested tumors – grown from cells grafted from patient tumors – were sensitive to this treatment, the investigators also outline a noninvasive way of screening cancer cells in vitro for treatment responsiveness.
“Our findings are important because there are currently no therapeutic options for recurrent, chemoresistant ovarian cancer,” says Dr. Pepin, who is the lead author of the report. “This is also a proof of concept that genes therapies with the AAV9 vector can be used to deliver biologics for the treatment of ovarian cancer and represents the first time this approach has been tested in this type of ovarian cancer model.”
Dr. Pepin’s OCRF-grant was made possible in part through a generous donation from Jennifer Clark, and from Karl Margolis and family in memory of Kate Margolis.