Ovarian cancer is a lethal disease that is commonly not detected until advanced stages when it is associated with poor survival. Currently, an effective early screening test does not exist and discovery of a precursor lesion in ovarian cancer has remained elusive. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel diagnostic strategies for early detection of ovarian cancer. The goal of this proposal is to develop a serum-based assay that uses antibodies that recognize molecules made by ovarian cancer cells as a diagnostic tool for early detection of ovarian cancer. There is ample evidence in that ovarian cancer patients produce an immune response, which includes the creation of antibodies, to molecules on the tumors, although the immune response is not effective in killing the tumor. The work proposed here will attempt to identify a panel of antibodies that can discriminate between individuals with and without cancer. The study will be done using serum samples from ovarian cancer patients and age-matched volunteer donors.
Dr. Heidi Gray is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UW. She received her M.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1997, and completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training at the UW. She completed her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Concurrently, she was an instructor for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1999, Dr. Gray received the Berlex Award for Best Teaching Second Year Resident at UW, as well as the Gallway Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2001, she received the David C. Figge Award for Outstanding Chief Resident in Gynecologic Oncology, UW. Her research has been funded by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.