2016 Recipient — Sherry Wu, PhD

Sherry Wu, PhD

Re-activating Anti-tumor Immunity Using Non-coding RNAs

Project Summary

Stimulating our immune system to attack cancer cells is a promising strategy to combat cancer, but current methods are ineffective against ovarian cancer because the tumor environment inherently suppresses immune cells. We have identified key RNA molecules that can make tumors more susceptible to immune cell attack, resulting in profound anti-tumor activity. By figuring out how this therapy works, we hope to identify patients who are more likely to respond. Concurrently, more effective non-invasive imaging methods will be developed to monitor treatment effectiveness early. Ultimately, these strategies will deploy the immune system to eliminate tumors and significantly improve patient survival.

This grant was made possible by a generous donation from Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, in memory of Vicki Borne.

Areas of Research:


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.