SELECTED STORIES
Back issues by year published
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
 
| |
Year 1998>>
| | Fall 1998 |
Shame of a Nation
View From the Hot Seats
The Man Who Knows Too Much
The Culprit is Cancer

University Communications

External Affairs
ucla home


Fall 1998
The Culprit is Cancer
page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Dr. Mark Pegram Assistant Professor of Medical Hematology and Oncology

Pegram is coinvestigator of a cutting-edge gene therapy study that targets an ovarian cancer gene called P53. The gene is mutated in 50 to 60 percent of women with ovarian cancer, but has also been found to play a role in more than 50 other kinds of cancers, including 20 to 30 percent of patients with prostate cancer. The therapy Pegram is using in the study, a genetically engineered adenovirus, is aimed at repairing the defective P53 gene. While the treatment has been tested on only approximately 40 women with ovarian cancer, so far it appears to be safe and successful in transferring the intact P53 gene to target tumors. "The supportive laboratory studies have been successful," confirms Pegram. "There is a potential that this form of treatment can suppress ovarian tumors." Based on these promising early results, a much larger P53 gene therapy study is scheduled this fall. "This next phase of clinical testing of P53 gene therapy will really put this revolutionary treatment modality to the test by comparing it with standard chemotherapy treatment for ovarial cancer," says Pegram.

Dr. Rob Reiter Assistant Professor of Urology

In 1997, Reiter and his colleagues made several key discoveries regarding the PSCA gene, or prostate stem cell antigen. They found PSCA present not only in normal prostate cells, but in 90 percent of all prostate cancer cells. They also proved that the gene is 100 times more prevalent in the prostate that in any other tissue. Finally, the researchers discovered that PSCA may be present at high levels in 80 percent of the men who have prostate cancer. Whether PSCA has a direct role in causing prostate cancer is unclear, but with disease now the second leading cause of death in American men, Reiter's research could provide answers. "Our findings suggest that PSCA may be useful as an indicator for prostate cancer," he says, "which could give rise to new diagnostic techniques for the disease." Reiter is also exploring PSCA's role in prostate cancer development to see if it has therapeutic applications.

<previous> <next>



2005 The Regents of the University of California