2004 Individual Investigator Grant Recipient – Wael ElShamy

Wael El Shamy, Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Another Protein Made by BRCA1 Gene and its Role in Ovarian Cancer

Project Summary

In some families, ovarian cancer is caused by the inaction of the tumor-suppressor gene, BRCA1. Dr. El Shamy has has discovered a second protein produced at the BRCA1 gene location, named IRIS, the function of which is not known. But Dr. El Shamy believes IRIS plays an opposite role in the life of ovarian cells, stimulating the growth and dispersion of these cells. Dr. El Shamy has found that IRIS over-expression in normal ovarian epithelial cells leads to dramatic down-regulation in the expression of the ovarian tumor suppressor, Disabled-2 (Dab-2), causing cancer growth and spread. In this project, Dr. El Shamy will investigate the role of IRIS in laboratory cells and in ovarian cancer tissue from women treated in the clinic to determine when IRIS is active, in which cancers IRIS is active, and the consequences of IRIS. IRIS may be a dangerous cancer-causing gene, and could be the target of future treatments of ovarian and breast cancers.