Stand Up To Cancer , Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, along with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), announced the formation of a “Dream Team” devoted to ovarian cancer research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015.
Alan D’Andrea, MD, Codirector of the Gene Therapy Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Fuller-American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, will lead the Dream Team. Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington, will be Coleader.
The collaborating organizations will devote $6 million over 3 years to a project entitled “DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer.”
Targeting Genetic Mutations
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year approved the drug olaparib to treat women with advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes, which are among a number of DNA repair genes identified as mutated in ovarian cancer. By targeting DNA repair pathways, the Dream Team hopes to build and expand on the recent clinical advances seen with olaparib and other PARP inhibitors in current clinical trials.
The team will also focus on prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer, which tends to be diagnosed at a late stage of the disease.
“We plan to develop a new web-based approach to genetic testing and counseling that will increase access to ovarian cancer risk assessment, so women can take action if they are at high risk,” Dr. Swisher said. A key feature of the prevention approach proposed by the Dream Team is to offer women identified as genetically high risk a choice of surgical options, including one that removes the fallopian tubes but spares the ovaries.
The Dream Team also includes three advocates: Kathleen Gavin, Executive Director of the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance; Sue Friedman, Executive Director of FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered); and Jamie Crase, an ovarian cancer survivor.
The project marks the first time that all three of the major ovarian cancer groups in the United States have come together to support a single research initiative. ■