Haineng Xu, PhD
Ovarian cancer, especially in certain cases, presents significant challenges caused by resistance to standard chemotherapy. Haineng Xu, PhD, a research assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, is spearheading research aiming to address these challenges.
Dr. Xu’s journey to a career in cancer research is deeply rooted in a personal connection to the cause. “I was drawn to the medical field as I witnessed the impact of deadly cancer disease on family members, relatives and neighbors,” he explained. From studying the cancer microenvironment at UPenn Radiation Oncology in 2014 to investigating drug resistance in gynecologic cancers in 2017, Dr. Xu continues to demonstrate immense dedication to advancing treatment options that will positively impact those affected by these devastating diseases.
A passion for scientific discovery drives Dr. Xu to tackle occurrences such as acquired drug resistance – a hurdle in modern cancer research. His ongoing studies employ a novel method that will identify opportunities for potentially overcoming resistance with innovative druggable targets for the development of novel therapies; simultaneously, Dr. Xu is exploring different combinations of inhibitors, or cancer growth blockers, to overcome resistance for overexpressing ovarian cancers.
The support from the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) has been pivotal in advancing Dr. Xu’s cutting-edge work. “The FWC St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Caring Together Research Grant for Ovarian Cancer makes it possible for us to continue our research,” said Dr. Xu. This funding, awarded to Dr. Xu in 2022, has facilitated the establishment of a platform for resistant ovarian cancers, potentially streamlining the evaluation of drug efficacy in the future.
Gynecologic cancers exhibit diverse genetic alterations, and Dr. Xu’s research centralizes treatments that address these incidences. “It is very exciting to move the discovery from lab to clinic to benefit patients,” said Dr. Xu. Through his research, he maintains optimistic expectations for the future of gynecologic cancer research and, ultimately, improved patient outcomes.
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