John Krais Receives Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance Grant to Seek Better Understanding of DNA Repair in BRCA1 Mutant Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (February 18, 2019) — John Krais, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center, recently received a two-year, $75,000 grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) for his investigation into DNA repair processes in BRCA1 mutant cancers.

Krais works in the lab of Neil Johnson, PhD, an associate professor at Fox Chase. His research will focus on the RNF168 protein, which is involved in repair of DNA damage. RNF168 recruits BRCA1 and another protein, 53BP1, to the site of DNA damage. 53BP1 blocks the BRCA1-dependent repair process, resulting in pathways that lead to more mutations in BRCA1 mutant cancers.

Preliminary research found reduced recruitment of 53BP1 to DNA damage in cases of BRCA1 mutation, allowing the cancer to grow. These same circumstances yielded a low presence of RNF168. By delving more into the role of RNF168, Krais will provide a better overall understanding of the DNA repair process in BRCA1 mutant cancers.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are the strongest known genetic risk factors for epithelial ovarian cancer.

“I am grateful to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance and Phil and Judy Messing for enabling me to generate information that we hope will ultimately lead to accurate predictions of therapy response and novel therapeutic approaches,” said Krais.

OCRA recently launched its new website at

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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