The research of the Dinulescu laboratory focuses on cancer biology, malignancies of the gonads and reproductive tract, with a special emphasis on ovarian cancer research and endometriosis. In addition, we have a strong interest in cancer genomics and proteomics, rational drug design and targeted therapies, methods of early detection, and cancer prevention.
Epithelial ovarian cancer is the deadliest cancer of the reproductive female tract and the fourth cause of cancer death in women. Recently, we have made an important advance in the field by developing the first mouse models of endometriosis and endometrioid ovarian cancer, a subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer. Endometriosis has been suspected for a long time to play a role in the pathogenesis of endometrioid ovarian cancer for reasons that remained unclear. Our studies in mouse models have uncovered a potential genetic link between endometriosis and endometrioid ovarian cancer that may help explain their frequent association in women.
An important goal of our research is to validate the mouse model data in ovarian cancer patients. This type of genetic research is critical in identifying which subset of endometriosis patients has the highest risk to develop ovarian cancer and may benefit from chemopreventive therapies. In addition, we are working on developing a noninvasive diagnostic test for ovarian cancer. Using a variety of proteomic techniques we are now in the process of identifying and validating a panel of highly specific plasma biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer.