Despite initial responses to surgery and chemotherapy, the majority of women with ovarian cancer ultimately die from recurrence and disease spread. Overcoming drug resistance, therefore, is the key to successful treatment of ovarian cancer. Dr. He’s research is focused on understanding the role that the loss of a particular protein, called HtrA1, plays in resistance to chemotherapy. Patients with ovarian cancers expressing higher levels of HtrA1 showed a higher response rate compared to those with lower HtrA1 levels. Her work involves understanding the molecules that HtrA1 interacts with in the cell to understand how the protein works. Such knowledge could lead to drugs that might keep levels of HtrA1 higher in ovarian cancer cells and therefore more responsive to treatment.
Dr. Xiaoping He is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Experimental Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She received her M.D from Medical College of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China and her Ph.D from Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China. Dr. He’s is intersted in early detection, cancer stem cells and understanding the molecular aspects of chemoresistant disease as it relates to ovarian cancer. Her current project under the mentorship of Dr. Shridhar is focused on defining the role of HtrA1, a serine protease that confers sensitivity to cisplatin and taxol mediated cytotoxicity, in modulating the expression level of XIAP, a protein that is over expressed and associated with chemoresistance in ovarian cancer.