New Tools for Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Researcher Highlight: Swayam Prabha
Oct. 25, 2017

Current therapies for ovarian cancer are associated with severe side effects that not only affect a patient’s quality of life but also reduces patient compliance and the overall effectiveness.

Assistant Professor Swayam Prabha, PhD, MBA, is researching a therapy – the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) – that could have significantly reduced side effects and toxicity for both primary and recurrent ovarian cancer.

Prabha’s work demonstrates new tools for ovarian cancer treatment that can be translated into clinical treatments to benefit women in the near future.

"In Greek mythology, the gift of the Trojan Horse allowed the Greek army to bypass the impenetrable walls of the city of Troy," said Prabha. "In my research, the 'Trojan Horse' are MSCs which can sense and seek out tumors to deliver a therapeutic nanoparticle directly to ovarian tumors."
 
She will explore whether the therapy of using stem cells could provide dual benefit where the drug released from stem cells will kill cancer cells, and at the same time, could differentiate and protect normal cells.  

Prabha received $100,000 from the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) to fund this project.  

“The funding from MOCA has allowed me to conduct studies establishing the effectiveness of engineered MSCs in delivering drugs specifically to cancer cells," said Prabha. "This new funding from MOCA will enable additional studies required for the use of this cancer therapy. My goal is that the results of these studies will help me get larger grants from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.”


(Excerpted from the MOCA Messenger)

Contact: 

The College of Pharmacy, pharm@umn.edu