While platinum agents, such as cisplatin, are the chemotherapeutic drugs of choice in the treatment of ovarian cancer, the majority of patients eventually develop drug resistance. Cisplatin works by binding to DNA and preventing the cell from dividing. But the cancer cell has certain mechanisms at its disposal to remove the DNA-cisplatin molecule, causing the cell to become resistant to treatment. It has been proposed that the binding of cisplatin-DNA molecules with proteins such as HMG1 and HMG2 may prevent the cell from eliminating the joined molecules and increase the effectiveness of cisplatin chemotherapy. Dr. Vasquez’s project will test the role of these molecules in resistance and sensitivity to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer.
Dr. Vasquez is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.