2011 Recipient Sherry Wu, PhD

Sherry Wu, PhD

Novel Approach to Destroy the Blood Supply that Feeds Ovarian Cancer Tumors

Project Summary

While most ovarian cancer patients respond to available treatments, most patients eventually experience disease progression resulting in death. Novel therapeutic strategies are therefore urgently required. Dr. Wu’s project involves using a highly effective gene silencing molecule, called a small interfering RNA, or siRNA, to shut off genes important in ovarian cancer progression, such as those that form blood vessels that support the tumor. By switching off these genes, it is anticipated tumors will stop making a new blood supply and will die. Since our bodies are efficient in removing foreign materials, there is an urgent need to develop a suitable carrier for these siRNAs so they reach tumor site after administration. Dr. Wu aims to develop a safe siRNA delivery system to destroy the ovarian cancer tumor blood supply. The approach also might be useful in delivering other treatments to ovarian cancer tumors.

Areas of Research:

Bio

Dr. Sherry Wu is an Assistant Professor in Gynecologic Oncology at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She is board certified by the Pharmacy Board of Australia. Dr. Wu completed her undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Following her internship year in Pharmacy, she started her research career as a Ph.D. student in Dr. Nigel McMillan’s laboratory at Diamantina Institute and School of Pharmacy, UQ, where she focused on developing novel RNAi delivery platform for cancer treatment. During her Ph.D. training, she received numerous awards including National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship, Young Investigator Awards, and Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses. Dr. Wu then completed her postdoctoral work with Dr. Anil Sood at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she worked on developing novel strategies to inhibit angiogenesis, enhance anti-tumor immune responses, and overcome chemoresistance for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Her work was recognized by Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) Ann Schreiber Program of Excellence, Translational Research in Multi-Disciplinary Program (TRIUMPH), and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Award in Translational Research. Dr. Wu’s research interest is centered on using non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) to enhance the efficacy of immunotherapies in ovarian cancer and investigating strategies to promote long term survival in ovarian cancer patients. She is also developing unique methods for systemic tumor-targeted delivery of ncRNAs. In addition to the OCRF Liz Tilberis Grant, Dr. Wu has received Caring Together, NY Ovarian Cancer Research Grant to support her current research efforts.