Jill Shirokawa, PhD
Searching for Novel Antibiotics Capable of Inhibiting Cancer Stem Cells
Many cancer survivors fear cancer recurrence. Currently, cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to be the main cause of cancer recurrence and metastasis. CSCs perpetuate tumors because they are resistant to conventional therapies and initiate new tumor growth. Conquering CSCs will require the development of a new generation of anticancer drugs. Recent evidence shows that some classes of antibiotics are effective CSC inhibitors. My research team is developing a multidisciplinary screening approach aimed at discovering novel antibiotics capable of inhibiting CSCs. This project coordinates ongoing research performed by undergraduate students isolating soil microbes that produce antibiotics. Antibiotic extracts obtained from soil microbes will be housed and delivered by nanocarriers to test their ability to inhibit CSCs.
Receipt of the PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant in Drug Discovery not only restarted my career but is helping me inspire women of all ages to contribute to their communities through research and education.