Detection of ovarian cancer before it progresses to late stage disease is a major challenge for ovarian cancer researchers. When ovarian cancer is detected early, it has a high cure rate. But unfortunately, the majority of ovarian cancer is found after the disease has spread and the survival rate plummets. In this study, Dr. Sarkar will assess whether a certain protein might be a possible marker to detect early stage ovarian cancer. The protein is expressed at high levels in both early and late stage disease. Also, reducing the level of this protein makes the cancer cells less aggressive. Dr. Sarkar plans to elucidate how excess levels of the protein make the cancer cells more aggressive. She also aims to design new assays to test inhibitors of this protein as a possible treatment for later disease, since the protein is also highly expressed in late cancers.
This Ann Schreiber Program of Excellence grant is supported by a grant from the S. L. Gimbel Foundation, the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and Ovarian Cycle.
Sharmistha Sarkar is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. She received her doctoral degree from University of Utah during which she studied the role of retinoic acid signaling in colon cancer. She received two Masters degrees in Biotechnology and Biochemistry from Indian Institute of technology and Calcutta University in India. Her current research focuses on studying the interplay between chromatin remodeling and cellular pathways that play a role in ovarian tumorigenesis.