Michael Rodio '12 | Oct. 15, 2013 | Harper Cancer Research Institute
Standing at a microscope in her Harper Hall laboratory, Dr. Karen Cowden Dahl is scanning through a petri dish filled with cancer cells that could represent a major step forward in ovarian cancer research.
Ovarian cancer is especially cruel because it is so hard to detect. While other types of cancer like breast cancer have reliable indicators that allow for early detection, ovarian cancer is hard to catch in its early stages.
But Cowden Dahl has found a biological marker that could be the long sought-after warning flag for ovarian cancer: ARID3B, a ubiquitous but poorly-understood transcription factor gene that acts like a switchboard operator by turning genes on and off in normal cells.