Position title: Weaver Laboratory
6435 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Research Title. Determining the mechanism of cytotoxicity of microtubule poisons and methods to increase their efficacy
Research Description. The microtubule poison Taxol™ (generic name paclitaxel) has been used clinically as an antimitotic chemotherapy drug for decades to treat a variety of cancers, including those of the breast, lung, and ovaries. Taxol is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat both primary and metastatic breast cancers. Only 41-58% of breast cancer patients experience positive therapeutic effects from this drug. Patients who do not respond to Taxol are not only delayed in receiving an effective therapy, but they are also exposed to the many negative side effects associated with Taxol treatment. Furthermore, there is currently no biomarker that can be used to predict patients’ response to Taxol, underscoring the importance of further research. The incomplete success rate of Taxol is at least partially due to a misunderstanding of its mechanism of cytotoxicity in patients. One central aim of my research is to determine whether this mechanism of cytotoxicity is specific to Taxol, or is used by other clinically useful microtubule poisons (including docetaxel, epothilone b, ixabepilone,vinblastine, vinorelbine and eribulin).