Long-Range Tumor-Host Signaling Mechanisms Driving Paraneoplastic Syndromes

Damon Runyon - Mark Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-Present)

Katy Ong, PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Katy Ong, PhD

Dr. Ong is investigating the molecular basis of paraneoplastic syndromes, which occur when a cancer causes unusual symptoms due to hormones produced by the tumor or antibodies produced by the immune system. They can affect the function of various distant tissues and organs in cancer patients, with deadly consequences. Dr. Ong is utilizing a new genetic tumor model in Drosophila that simulates many human paraneoplastic disorders: cachexia, immune dysfunction and early lethality. She aims to uncover how tumor cells impose physiological changes in host tissues at a distance with the hope of uncovering footholds for novel treatments.

Content courtesy of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


Bilder D, Ong K, Hsi TC, Adiga K, Kim J. Tumour-host interactions through the lens of Drosophila. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021.

Hsi TC, Ong KL, Sepers JJ, Kim J, Bilder D. Systemic coagulopathy promotes host lethality in a new Drosophila tumor model. Curr Biol. 2023.