Dr Ping Pui Wong

Dr Ping Pui Wong

BSc, MRes, PhD
Centre: Centre for Molecular Oncology
Lecturer in Cancer Cell Biology
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My research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of chemoresistance in breast cancer treatment.

Although the anti-oestrogen tamoxifen treatment has improved survival for oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer patients, eventual resistance is a common and devastating result for over 30% of patients, showing we must improve therapeutic strategies.

Research Details

Our preliminary studies suggest strongly that expression of MAGEA2 (Melanoma-Associated Antigen 2), and related members of this cancer-testis antigen family, is up-regulated in tamoxifen-resistant tumour cells. Expression of MAGEA2 in tumour lines grown in vitro or as xenografts led to continued proliferation in the presence of tamoxifen.

At the molecular level, we found that MAGEA2 protein localises to the nucleus and forms complexes with p53 and ERα, resulting in repression of the p53 pathway but increased ER-dependent signaling. In a series of ER+, tamoxifen-treated breast cancer patients, we show a highly significant association between MAGEA expression and reduced overall survival, confirming the clinical significance of our observation.

These findings will be used to inform further translational/pre-clinical studies to target MAGEA, or the pathways activated, in conjunction with tamoxifen treatment to improve patient outcomes and establish the utility of MAGEA expression as a marker of de novo or acquired tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer.

To achieve these aims, I am currently developing several research projects:

  1. Investigating the role of MAGEA family members in tamoxifen resistant breast cancer progression, invasion and metastasis
  2. Developing primary breast cancer models and preclinical models for tamoxifen resistant breast cancer studies
  3. Developing novel drug resistant biomarkers and clinical trials inspired by the laboratory result

Profile

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in biochemistry at Imperial College London in 2005 and completed a MRes in Biomedicine at the University College London. I then moved to the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast and completed my PhD in Biomedical Science, under the supervision of Professor Dennis McCance.

After completing my PhD, I undertook a post-doctoral position with Professors Helen Hurst and Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke at the Barts Cancer Institute where I studied the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer treatment.

Recently, I have been appointed as a Nanchang joint programme lecturer and early career researcher and am establishing my research lab in the Centre for Molecular Oncology here at BCI.

Funding

  • HEFCE
  • Barts Charity

Key Publications

Dual-Action Combination Therapy Enhances Angiogenesis while Reducing Tumor Growth and Spread. Wong P-P, Demircioglu F, Ghazaly E Alrawashdeh W, Stratford MR, Scudamore CL, Cereser B, Crnogorac-Jurcevic T, McDonald S, Elia G, Hagemann T, Kocher HM, Hodivala-Dilke KM. Cancer Cell (2015) 27(1):123-137. PMID: 25584895

Endothelial-cell FAK targeting sensitizes tumours to DNA-damaging therapy. Tavora B, Reynolds LE*, Batista S*, Demircioglu F*, Fernandez I*, Lechertier T*, Lees DM*, Wong PP*, Alexopoulou A, Elia G, Clear A, Ledoux A, Hunter J, Perkins N, Gribben JG, Hodivala-Dilke KM. Nature. (2014) 514(7520):112-6. PMID: 25079333
* Joint second authorship

Identification of MAGEA antigens as causal players in the development of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer. Wong PP, Yeoh CC, Ahmad AS, Chelala C, Gillett C, Speirs V, Jones JL, Hurst HC. Oncogene. (2014) 33(37):4579-88. PMID: 24662835

Histone demethylase KDM5B collaborates with TFAP2C and Myc to repress the cell cycle inhibitor p21(cip) (CDKN1A). Wong PP, Miranda F, Chan KV, Berlato C, Hurst HC, Scibetta AG. Mol Cell Biol. (2012) 32(9):1633-44. PMID: 22371483


Further Publications

For additional publications, please click here



My research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of chemoresistance in breast cancer treatment.

Although the anti-oestrogen tamoxifen treatment has improved survival for oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer patients, eventual resistance is a common and devastating result for over 30% of patients, showing we must improve therapeutic strategies.

News

  • July 2015: Speaker at the European Society for Microcirculation (ESM) and European Vascular Biology Organisation joint meeting
  • June 2015: Speaker at the University of Southampton seminar series
  • Jan 2015: Cancer Cell publication on ‘Dual-Action Combination Therapy Enhances Angiogenesis while Reducing Tumor Growth and Spread’
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