Katherine Ryman PhD

University of Pittsburgh, Center for Vaccine Research, Pittsburgh, PA Associate Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Research Focus: Tumor Specific Replicating Virus

Cancer Type: Prostate Cancer

Award: Young Investigator

2003-2006 Research Grant: Infecting Prostate Cancer Cells With A Killer Virus
Recently, the use of tumor-killing viruses has gained favor in cancer gene therapy in an approach that has become known as “virotherapy.” Virotherapy exploits viruses that are able to target and destroy cancer cells, while sparing the surrounding normal tissue. We are developing a virotherapy approach for the treatment of prostate cancer based on infection with Sindbis virus. The ability of Sindbis virus to travel rapidly throughout the body in the bloodstream will improve access to metastasized cancer cells. We intend first to develop and test these agents in cultured cells. We will then test and optimize the ability of the virus to cure prostate cancer.

Current Research:

Dr. Ryman’s research has shifted focus over the years and although she has continued working with the Sinbis virus, her research has moved away for looking at its potential role in cancer therapy to researching it and other viruses from a pathological point of view. The goal of Dr. Ryman’s laboratory is to gain a better understanding of certain, dangerous, RNA viruses (such as Yellow Fever) and the way they interact with their host to produce infection. With this understanding she hopes to develop antiviral drugs and vaccines to alleviate the effects of these viruses in humans.

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