PCNA is a protein that is involved in telling the cell not to divide if there is DNA damage within the cell. But if the PCNA protein no longer functions in the cell, the cell will be unable to maintain the integrity of its genome because of the DNA damage and slowly transform into a cancer cell. Dr. Hickey plans to study differences between normal PCNA in ovarian cells and PCNA found in ovarian cancer cells. He hopes to determine if the protein could be used as a marker of early detection for the disease. Further, he will try to find drugs that act on the abnormal PCNA molecule implicated in ovarian cancer. Such agents would prevent ovarian cancers from growing and could lead to new types of treatments.
This award has been made possible by a generous grant from The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
Dr. Hickey is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.