February 3, 2006

Study of enzyme’s role in ovarian cancer lands support

Featured Image

It was "ER in the Rockies" for opening night of the 12th annual Country in the Rockies (CITR), which supports the T.J. Martell Foundation and its Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Sporting the special scrubs that Vanderbilt-Ingram provided for the event are, from left, CITR emcee Tom Gross, BMI's Paul Corbin, Preston Laboratories director Hal Moses, CITR founder Frances Preston, Vanderbilt-Ingram director Raymond Dubois, and Martell Foundation CEO Peter Quinn.

Study of enzyme’s role in ovarian cancer lands support

Vanderbilt researchers have been awarded funding from the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) to continue their work to uncover the role of the COX-1 enzyme in ovarian cancer.

Takiko Daikoku, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Pediatrics, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the GCF to examine the role of PPAR-delta as a downstream target for COX-1-derived prostaglandins in ovarian cancer.

She is a member of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, and collaborates with Sudhansu K. Dey, Ph.D., director of the Department of Pediatrics. They are also members of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Dineo Khabele, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Meharry Medical College, is a co-investigator on the grant.

The researchers' collaboration with Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Cancer Center, led to the previous discovery that COX-1, rather than COX-2, is overexpressed in human and mouse ovarian cancers and that blocking the COX-1 enzyme slows the growth of ovarian tumors in mouse models.

Their current work expands on the discovery and looks closer at PPAR-delta, a receptor protein found in the nucleus of the cell that influences gene expression. These receptors could play a key role as a downstream target of COX-1-derived prostaglandins to promote the spread of ovarian cancer.

Dey said their work studying the role of COX-1 in ovarian cancer has opened the door to future clinical trials in patients and possibly even clues to identifying the disease before it has progressed so that it can be treated at an earlier stage.

“I think if we work diligently, COX-1-derived prostaglandins could become a marker for ovarian cancer, and that is very exciting,” said Dey.