New Therapeutic Target

$500K DoD Grant Supports Ovarian Cancer Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Functional Genomics Center will use funding from the US Military to run a collaborative project focused on finding genetic variations involved in ovarian cancer.

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, which runs the NFGC, said today that it will lead a consortium of researchers and physicians supported by a $500,000 grant from the US Army Medical Research & Materiel Command and the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center.

In the first phase of the project, the researchers will characterize gene expression and oncogene activation of copy number and point mutations in preclinical models by profiling ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer stem cells.

The group also will characterize platinum resistance and the interaction between ovarian cancer cells and the immune system.

"There is a huge amount of scientific expertise and knowledge being brought to this project," US Army Major General John Parker, who serves as NFGC’s board chair, said in a statement.

Along with the Moffitt Cancer Center, other institutions that will be participating in the consortium include: the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Medical School; the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center; and the Hawaii Institute for Molecular Sciences.

(BenomeWeb Daily News, 24.4.2009)

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L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1-CAM) plays a role in the ontogeny of human tumors as its expression is linked to poor prognosis for the patient with ovarian and endometrial carcinoma. Overexpression promotes tumor cell motility, invasion, tumor growth in nude mice and supports tumor metastasis. We believe that L1-CAM is a novel target molecule for ovarian carcinoma therapy. Indeed in preclinical model systems, antibodies to L1-CAM can block tumor growth. The research group lead by Dr. Peter Altevogt presents evidence that L1 antibodies have a beneficial effect because they attenuate L1-dependent signalling and gene regulation in tumor cells.

(Gast D. et al. Oncogene. 2007 Oct 22)