UPMC CancerCenter SPORE Grant to Focus on Ovarian Cancer

By: Courtney McCrimmon and Tim Betler

More than 14,000 women in the U.S., including 800 from Pennsylvania, died last year from ovarian cancer, a disease that often isn’t detected until later stages when it is significantly more difficult to treat. Now, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) will join forces thanks to an $11 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop deeper understanding of the disease, and identify ways to prevent and cure it.

The five-year grant award comes through the NCI’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), and will fund three clinical trials evaluating newly developed immunotherapies and an epidemiological study examining strategies to reduce risk in women considered at high risk for developing ovarian cancer.One of only five ovarian cancer–focused SPORE grants awarded nationally, this is the only one focused exclusively on utilizing the body’s immune system to fight the disease. The goal of the research is to reduce the overall morbidity and mortality of ovarian cancer through “bench to bedside” research.

Robert P. Edwards, M.D., executive vice-chair of gynecologic services and director of the Ovarian Cancer Center for Excellence at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, discusses the importance of the SPORE grant in the video above.