Dr. Janet Rader, Professor and Chair of the OBGYN Department, has great interest in the care of women and research. Dr. Rader has a dedicated space in the Human and Molecular Genetics Center (HMGC) to further her research along with scientists, PhDs, RNs, technicians and data analysts.
Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer, but it is evident that additional factors must be involved, since only a small proportion of infected women develop cancer. The laboratory concentrates on identifying genes involved in the progression of cervical cancer through the analysis of molecular changes in preinvasive and invasive neoplasias of the cervix, in addition to identifying host genetic susceptibility polymorphisms in the progression of disease.
Through a candidate gene approach that uses family-based controls, we identify inherited genetic polymorphisms and high-risk HPV subtypes/variants that contribute to the development of invasive cervical cancer and high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. The ongoing investigation is known as the Cervical Cancer Genetic Epidemiology (CerGE) study. We have DNA from cancer patients and family-based controls (trios), and have typed HPVs in tumors of affected women. To date, we have identified significant genetic polymorphisms in several candidate genes that associate with disease.
Future goals are to accelerate the identification of polymorphisms important in the host susceptibility to cervical cancer utilizing high-throughput genotyping and candidate gene sequencing. We will identify the causal basis of the variants by interrogating matched cancer samples and functional assays.