Protein tyrosine kinases (PTK) regulate many cellular responses involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, cell communication and regulation of gene expression. The Src PTK is expressed in many cell types and may interface with diverse signaling cascades that catalyze and regulate complex cell processes. Aberrant activation of the Src PTK has been studied in numerous human cancers but little is known in human ovarian cancers. Dr. Wiener’s group has found that Src is over-expressed in late stage human ovarian cancers and in several ovarian cancer cell lines. Inhibition of Src stops cell growth and tumor development in nude mice without altering normal proliferative functions. This suggests that Src may function as an oncogene, or cancer-causing gene, in malignant ovarian epithelium. Research also shows that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a growth factor found in the fluid of advanced ovarian, requires Src and the activation of certain signaling pathways. Dr. Weiner’s group has identified a small molecule which inhibits Src and hypothesizes that this inhibition will prevent the production and secretion of the activators required for some phases of ovarian cancer cell reproduction. The studies of Dr. Wiener’s group may form a basis for employing Src inhibitors as anti-metastatic agents in advanced ovarian cancers, thereby rendering these cancers suitable for techniques that can address regional disease instead of widely metastatic disease.
Jon R. Wiener, PhD has been the assistant dean for academic affairs at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) since 1999 and assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center since 1994.
He received a BS and MS in microbiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a PhD in microbiology from the University of Virginia. After a post-doctoral fellowship in microbiology at Duke University, in 1988 he joined the faculty of Duke University in the Department of Surgery.
His research focuses on aberrant tyrosine kinase signaling and protease secretion in human ovarian cancer, with other interests being infectious virology, and the education and training of biomedical scientists.