Mesothelin is a protein that is highly prevalent in approximately 70 percent of ovarian cancers, making mesothelin a new target for anticancer agents. In ovarian cancer, mesothelin with other molecules is believed to help spread the disease to the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal wall. In his research, Dr. Ho aims to generate a panel of human monoclonal antibodies that will effectively neutralize mesothelin to prevent or treat tumor growth and metastasis in ovarian cancer. He also plans to use the antibodies to get a better understanding of how mesothelin leads to ovarian cancer metastasis. Dr. Ho aims to use novel methods to make these antibodies to overcome some technical difficulties that currently exist in making these kinds of molecules in the laboratory
Mitchell Ho has pioneered the production of inhibitory antibodies that target tumor-specific heparan sulfate proteoglycans. His laboratory studies glypicans as a novel class of therapeutic targets and identifies single domain antibodies that have the unique ability to bind cryptic functional regions in extracellular signaling complexes. Several promising antibody therapeutics are being developed for clinical use, including ones that inhibits glypican-3/Wnt signaling in liver cancer.
Dr. Ho serves on the Board of Distinguished Advisors for the Antibody Society. He is the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry for the FAES Graduate School at the NIH.