Dr Gwo Yaw Ho is a medical oncologist and a clinician-scientist investigating better ways to treat ovarian cancer. Dr Ho graduated from The University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 2004, before completing his medical oncology specialist training in Brisbane, Queensland, in 2014. He has completed laboratory-based, translational PhD at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne in ovarian and rare cancer research whilst undertaking a role of a medical oncologist at Peter McCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. Dr Ho is now a part of the medical oncology team at Medical Oncology and Clinical Trial Unit, Monash Health treating patients with breast and gynaecologic cancer.
MYCN is an early embryonic developmental gene that is completely silenced following completion of embryogenesis, except in the context of malignancy or in spermatogonial stem cell population. It plays an important role in regulating cell growth and division (proliferation), self-destruction of cells (apoptosis), cell stemness and differentiation (cell fate), and cell migration. Twenty percent of high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is associated with MYCN oncogene pathway activation, which is linked to stem cell like behaviour and confers a poor prognosis.
Dr Ho’s research focuses on understanding the role of the MYCN pathway in HGSOC tumorigenesis and developing robust pre-clinical models to explore novel therapeutics for this subset of HGSOC. His studies have demonstrated that activation of the MYCN pathway in the fallopian tube secretory epithelial cells can drive ovarian cancer development and he utilises this model to generate pre-clinical data to support clinical trial designs. Dr Ho has also demonstrated that human cancer tissue with MYCN pathway activation can be successfully grown in the laboratory and be used to study the effect of novel therapies targeting this pathway together with their mechanisms of activity and resistance.