2011 Liz Tilberis Grant Recipient – Selvendiran Karuppaiyah
Ohio State University
New Type of Experimental Drug for Ovarian Cancer
Chemotherapy is the preferred treatment method for ovarian cancer; however, the development of resistance by cancer cells eventually leads to patients’ death. Recent studies by Dr. Karuppaiyah show that a new class of synthetic drugs, called DAPs, could be possible alternatives to common chemotherapy medications. DAPs might work as a stand-alone, first line treatment for ovarian cancer or could possibly kill chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells. Some of these drugs appear to specifically target ovarian cancer, while preventing damage to normal cells. They work by lowering levels of a molecule called STAT3, which when overstimulated in ovarian cancer cells leads to uncontrolled cell growth and drug resistance. In his study, Dr. Karuppaiyah will use cell culture methods to investigate the potential of several DAP compounds to fight ovarian cancer. He will study how these DAP molecules work and will test the most promising DAPs in a mouse model of ovarian cancer.
Dr. Selvendiran Karuppaiyah is a Research Scientist in the Department of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center. His primary research interests are molecular and cellular signaling pathways which play a role in the development and progression of ovarian cancer, and potential ways that these pathways can be targeted for disruption as a means of treatment. Dr. Karuppaiyah became involved in the field of cancer research during his work to obtain his PhD at the University of Madras in Chennai, India. His work involved the use of selenium as a possible chemopreventive agent, and the use of piperine as a means to treat lung cancer. Upon completion of his Doctorate degree in 2003, Dr. Karuppaiyah was awarded a highly-competitive international research fellowship to join the Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy at Karume Medical Unversity in Japan as a post-doctoral researcher. There, his research dealt primarily with liver cancer. Upon completion of the research fellowship in 2006, Dr. Karuppaiyah joined the research group of Dr. Periannan Kuppusamy at The Ohio State University as a post-doctoral researcher in support of ongoing NIH-funded research in ovarian cancer. His productivity and insight since joining Dr. Kuppusamy’s group have been outstanding, and have resulted in contributions on at least 19 peer-reviewed manuscripts, half of which were as the first author. Most of these publications were focused upon ovarian cancer. In 2008, and again in 2009, Dr. Karuppaiyah was honored with Young Investigator Awards by the Kaleidoscope of Hope (KOH) Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research. As a 2010 recipient of a grant through the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Liz Tilberis Scholars Program, Dr. Karuppaiyah is well on his way to establishing an independent career in ovarian cancer research and therapeutics that is sure to be very successful.
The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer has increased by only 8% in the last 30 years.
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