2011 Ann Schreiber Grant Recipient – Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu, PhD
MD Andserson Cancer Center
Novel Approach to Destroy the Blood Supply that Feeds Ovarian Cancer Tumors
While most ovarian cancer patients respond to available treatments, most patients eventually experience disease progression resulting in death. Novel therapeutic strategies are therefore urgently required. Dr. Wu’s project involves using a highly effective gene silencing molecule, called a small interfering RNA, or siRNA, to shut off genes important in ovarian cancer progression, such as those that form blood vessels that support the tumor. By switching off these genes, it is anticipated tumors will stop making a new blood supply and will die. Since our bodies are efficient in removing foreign materials, there is an urgent need to develop a suitable carrier for these siRNAs so they reach tumor site after administration. Dr. Wu aims to develop a safe siRNA delivery system to destroy the ovarian cancer tumor blood supply. The approach also might be useful in delivering other treatments to ovarian cancer tumors.
Dr. Sherry Wu is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University and will join M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2011. She obtained her undergraduate pharmacy qualification with first class honors from the University of Queensland in Australia in 2004. Following her internship year in pharmacy, she undertook her Ph.D. at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute under the supervision of A/Prof Nigel McMillan and was awarded her Ph.D. in March, 2010. Her thesis investigated the potential of using small interfering RNA (siRNA) for treatment of cancer. During this time, she developed novel delivery systems which enable the use of siRNA in vivo for both local and systemic applications. She was awarded Young Investigator Award and the Jian Zhou Memorial Award for her work at Diamantina Institute and was also selected as one of 15 young scientists from around Australia invited to present their work to the general public. Her research interests include understanding the molecular basis of cancer progression and metastasis and investigating novel ways to target cancer using nanotechnologies. In particular, she is interested in applying a novel technology called RNA interference to combat ovarian cancer.
The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer has increased by only 8% in the last 30 years.
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