Marco Gallo, PhD

University of Calgary, Cummings School of Medicine, Alberta, Canada Assistant Professor, Physiology & Pharmacology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Research Focus: Cancer Stem Cell Directed Therapy

Cancer Type: Brain Cancer

Award: Young Investigator

Dr. Gallo’s research centers on the cellular anomalies in brain tumors, with a special emphasis on glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in adults with a survival rate of only 13 months. One of the reasons treatments are often ineffective is the Machiavellian cellular structure within the tumor. A small population of cancer cells have properties reminiscent of normal stem cells. These are called cancer stem cells and they successfully evade traditional therapies. Dr.Gallo’s team has learned that cancer stem cells have regions of highly compacted DNA caused by low levels of a specific protein. His research is designed to introduce an engineered protein into the DNA architecture, which can be directed to any site in the human genome and used to unravel the tumor. Pre–clinical studies will permit an analysis of both immediate efficacy and lasting affect.

Dr. Gallo earned a PhD in medical genetics at the University of British Columbia and a BS in molecular biology and biochemistry at Simon Fraser University, both in Canada. He has published six primary authorship papers since beginning his post-doctoral fellowship in 2010.

In essence, our technology will enable us to perform a new kind of gene therapy, by directly targeting DNA structure, which is the ultimate determinant of cancer stem cell behavior.” Dr. Marco Gallo, ACGT Young Investigator

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