2008 Liz Tilberis Grant Recipient – Rugang Zhang

Rugang Zhang, PhD
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Exploiting Natural Cell Behavior to Stop Cancer Cell Growth

Project Summary

Cellular senescence, or the process whereby normal cells in the body stop dividing, essentially prevents a cell from growing. In mammalian cells grown in tissue culture, cellular senescence can be triggered either by activation of certain special genes called oncogenes or by inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene. This process is termed oncogene-induced senescence. Overriding oncogene induced senescence is a necessary step during tumor progression. Conversely, reactivation of a tumor suppressor gene induces cellular senescence and associated tumor regression due to activation of the innate immune response. Therefore, driving cancer cells to undergo cellular senescence may represent a novel therapeutic approach to combat cancer. The objective of this study is to determine the role of oncogene induced senescence in suppression of ovarian carcinogenesis and to define the function of a particular tumor suppressor pathway, called p53, in mediating this tumor suppressive process.

Bio

Dr. Rugang Zhang is a molecular and cell biologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. His laboratory focuses on understanding the basis of ovarian cancer initiation and progression, with the hope to find new biological “markers” that can be used to detect early signs of the disease and ultimately develop new therapeutics for the cancer. Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. from Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, in Shanghai, China.