2005 Individual Investigator Grant Recipient – Xiaolong He
Xiaolong He, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
One Cause of Ovarian Cancer May Lay in Problems with mRNA
Pre-mRNA splicing is an essential cellular process that leads to the generation of mature mRNA’s, which are the templates a cell uses to make our proteins. Defects in pre-mRNA splicing have been shown to be causes of a variety of human diseases. Although it is unclear whether altered pre-mRNA splicing causes cancers, there is mounting evidence showing that altered splicing is associated with and possibly involved in tumor progression and/or metastasis. Based on previous studies and Dr. He’s observations, he plans to study whether changes in pre-mRNA splicing occur during the transformation of human ovarian surface epithelial cells into cancer cells and to test whether modulation of splicing can retard or stop the transformation of the epithelial cells. If the cancerous transformation can be retarded or stopped by manipulating the expression of a protein, called PTB, that affects splicing, then a new therapeutic target for ovarian cancer could be developed.