Identifying Therapeutic Targets for Kaposi Sarcoma

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Ashlee Moses, PhD
Associate Professor, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute
Scientist, Division of Pathobiology and Immunology
Oregon Health & Science University

Location: Pelton Auditorium, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Ashlee Moses is an Associate Professor at OHSU’s Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI). She received her undergraduate training in South Africa, obtained her Ph.D. in Australia and conducted post-doctoral studies at the Scripps Institute and at OHSU, before joining the VGTI faculty in 2001.

Dr. Moses is a virologist with a longstanding interest in viral pathogenesis, immune evasion and the identification of novel therapeutics through interrogation of virus-host interactions.  Her current research program centers on HIV-1, focusing on HIV Vpu and cellular BST-2, and KSHV/HHV-8, focusing on virus-induced host proteins that regulate infection and pathogenesis. Her seminar will describe recent work in the laboratory aimed at understanding the role of the host enzyme heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in KSHV-infected endothelial cells (EC).  KSHV is the etiologic agent of Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a tumor of EC-origin that is the most common HIV-associated malignancy.  KS is one of the most common cancers in sub-Saharan Africa and remains a threat to KSHV/HIV co-infected individuals worldwide.  Innovative approaches are needed to prevent or treat KS, particularly in developing countries where KS is prevalent.  The Moses laboratory identified HO-1 as virus-induced host protein and their research indicates that HO-1 expression facilitates both KSHV infection of EC and the tumorigenic behavior of infected cells.  HO-1 is considered a therapeutic target for several cancers, and HO-1 inhibitors could also hold promise for treating KSHV infection and the growth of KS.  

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