Laboratory Research in the Gynecologic Oncology Division

The Division of Gynecologic Oncology has a productive basic and translational research program led by Manish S. Patankar, Ph.D. The primary Gynecologic Oncology laboratory is conveniently located at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) which also houses the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. This 1200 sq. ft. wet lab facility is primarily utlizied by Dr. Patankar and will be completely refurbished and updated with modern laboratory facilities. Construction is expected to start in November 2010. Additional 1000 sq. ft. of wet laboratory space has now been made available to Dr. Patankar by the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. This additional laboratory space is also located at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC). The Division of Gynecologic Oncology therefore has a total of 2300 sq. ft of wet laboratory space available to conduct basic and translational research.

Several projects are currently underway in the laboratories of Dr. Patankar. Brief descriptions and highlights of these projects are provided below.

Dr. Patankar works on several joint projects. The most prominent among these is developing a novel diagnostic test based on the monitoring of the mucin MUC16 (the ovarian tumor marker CA125 is located in this mucin molecule) on specific immune cells. This project has been funded by various intramural funding sources and Dr. Patankar is the PI's on a R21 grant recently awarded by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Patankar are also co-inventors on a patent application on this topic that has now been filed with the United States Patent Office through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

In addition, Dr. Patankar are also investigating the biology of MUC16 in the progression of ovarian tumors with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies against this cancer. These studies are being conducted in collaboration with Drs. Ira Pastan and Mitchell Ho (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD), and James C. Paulson (Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA). In collaboration with Neoclone Biotechnology (Madison WI) Dr. Patankar have recently completed a National Institutes of Health Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to develop novel therapeutic antibodies against MUC16 that can be used to target ovarian tumors.

Another established collaboration between Dr. Patankar and Dr. Paul Sondel (Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is on understanding and enhancing the therapeutic potential of the immunocytokine huKS-IL2 in the treatment of ovarian tumors.

In addition to their collaborative research, Dr. Patankar have also developed and established several independent research projects. Dr. Patankar has developed projects on electrophysiology of ovarian cancer (in collaboration with Dr. Bikash Pattnaik, Department of Pediatrics and Opthalmology), microfluidic cell cultures to study tumor cell immune cell interactions (in collaboration with Dr. Dave Beebe, Department of Bioengineering), developing nanoparticles that lyse ovarian tumor cells by hyperthermia (in collaboration with Dr. Ralph Albrecht, Animal Sciences), and monitoring ovarian tumor growth by novel magnetic resonance imaging techniques (in collaboration with Drs. Sean Fain and Ian Rowland, Department of Medical Physics and Dr. Hirak Basu, University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center).

The Division of Gynecologic Oncology also has a strong record in mentoring fellows and graduate student research. Dr. Patankar has been the principle advisor for one PhD and three Masters level graduate students. Dr. Jennifer Gubbels gradauted with a PhD in Spring 2009 and is currently tenure-track Assistant Professor at Augustana College, South Dakota. Masters students graduating from the Patankar laboratory are Elizabeth Dille (currently a PhD student at the University of Kansas), Cara Raphael (currently a second year medical student at Medical College of Virginia, Ricmhond, VA), and Dr. David Engle (currently second year Gynecologic Oncology Fellow at the University of Iowa). Dr. Patankar is currently serving as the principal advisor for Dr. Chanel Tyler who recently completed her fellowship in maternal Fetal Medicine and is a junior faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Mian Shahzad, who began his Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in July 2010 will receive his PhD from the Endocrinology Reproductive Physiology graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Patankar will serve as his principal advisor. In Fall 2010, Mr. Nick Claussen also initiated his PhD studies under Dr. Patankar’s mentorship.

Dr. Patankar are also jointly mentoring Dr. Arvinder Kapur, a Assistant Scientist in their research group. Dr. Kapur contributes to research conducted by both the PI’s and is also developing her own individual research projects in Gynecologic Oncology. Dr. Kapur is also responsible for providing hands-on training and day-to-day guidance to the Gynecologic Oncology Fellows in their laboratory-based research projects.