Analisa DiFeo, PhD, studies epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), one of the most lethal gynecological malignancies. Her research focuses on identifying genetic aberrations critical to the development of drug resistance and ovarian cancer progression. The genetic changes she finds will serve as novel biomarkers of ovarian cancer therapeutic response and/or innovative targeted molecular therapies that can work alone or in conjunction with current treatment options.
DiFeo, Assistant Professor of General Medical Science-Oncology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, started the Gynecological Oncology Translational Research Working Group to understand the molecular defects associated with ovarian cancer initiation, progression and chemotherapy resistance. Over the last year, the Group has established a tumor biobank with more than 100 samples and a computer integrated gynecological cancer patient database. The biobank allows Case CCC researchers to directly study genetic alterations in patient tumors as well as test novel drugs in patient-derived cell lines and mouse models.
DiFeo’s lab recently discovered that a family of small non-coding RNAs make cells form metastasis quickly and correlates with poor survival rates in patients with EOC.