Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S., with an estimated 22,000 new cases and 14,000 deaths each year. Most ovarian cancer deaths (~70%) occur in patients with advanced, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGS-OvCa). Unfortunately, this disease spreads in the abdomen early during the course of disease and is often already disseminated on diagnosis, meaning that surgery alone is not enough to cure patients, who also require systemic therapies. Sadly, existing systemic therapies rarely cure these patients. In 2014, with funding from a Liz Tilberis Early Career Award, we launched an ambitious, multidisciplinary research program at Duke University devoted to using advanced genomic techniques and cellular disease models to discover new therapies for HGS-OvCa, then translating those therapies to patients through clinical trials conducted at Duke.
This project builds on the robust program we have developed during the past four years and the major discoveries emanating from this program. We propose a series of focused studies to evaluate the first two therapies arising from this program, which our data suggest will have activity in biomarker-defined HGS-OvCa patient populations. This project is likely to provide the critical data necessary to drive the design of clinical trials to test these therapies in patients while also providing a critical funding bridge for our research program while we compete for large scale funding from the NIH.
This research has been generously supported by Newk’s Cares, and Ovarian Cycle, Jackson, MS.