2007 Individual Investigator Grant Recipient – David MacLaughlin

David MacLaughlin, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Validation of a Human Ovarian Cancer Stem Cell Signature and its Use to Select Optimal Therapeutic Strategies for Ovarian Cancer Patients

Project Summary

One explanation as to why ovarian cancer cells metastasize and resist treatment is ovarian cancer stem cells. A property of stem cells is their ability to migrate from their site of origin and invade other tissues. Another characteristic stem cells have is producing a protein that sits in their membrane and pumps cancer drugs out so the drugs are unable to kill cells. Dr. MacLaughlin’s research seeks to identify these stem cells, which are small in number, and to develop a method of treating them in a manner different than currently used chemotherapeutic drugs. A candidate drug he has found that stops the growth of stem cells is Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS), a naturally occurring growth inhibitor. His findings could improve ovarian cancer treatment.