BLOG: A research-funding milestone! MOCA awards $528,720 to ovarian cancer researchers

BLOG: A research-funding milestone! MOCA awards $528,720 to ovarian cancer researchers

Mock pap test diptec
5.21.14 The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance is celebrating the organization’s 15th year with a research-funding milestone.  At MOCA’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 15, we announced that a record $528,720 in funding for ovarian cancer research projects would be awarded to six researchers at the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota. This is the largest amount of research funding our organization has awarded at one time since its inception in 1999.

MOCA funds ovarian cancer research in Minnesota through an annual competitive grant program. These grants provide opportunities for Minnesota-based researchers to initiate new studies or continue current research on ovarian cancer. MOCA is one of the top private, non-profit funders of ovarian cancer research in the nation.

“In the past 15 years, MOCA has awarded nearly 60 research grants to Minnesota researchers. These projects show MOCA’s commitment to advancing ovarian cancer research, which is so necessary because there is no early detection test and limited effective treatment options for the disease,” said MOCA Executive Director Kathleen Gavin. “When we fund Minnesota researchers, MOCA makes a commitment to the women and families we serve by ensuring that women with ovarian cancer have access to not only the best healthcare providers, but also an array of clinical trials that provide additional treatment options to them.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women and is the deadliest gynecologic cancer. Nearly 400 women in Minnesota will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year.

Findings from MOCA-funded research projects have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences throughout the country. Projects are selected annually through a competitive review process involving national experts in ovarian cancer research and local consumer reviewers.

This year’s funded projects range from research into the use of PAP tests to find biomarkers indicative of ovarian cancer, to a project that repurposes the use of an antimalarial drug to treat ovarian cancer. The photo above shows Dr. Amy Skubitz, from the University of Minnesota, explaining the contents of her test kit from her research that tests for the indication of ovarian cancer in PAP tests.

The full list of 2014 research projects include:

A pilot study of the safety and immunogenicity of folate receptor alpha peptide-loaded dendritic cell vaccination in patients with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer

Matthew S. Block, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Oncology

Mayo Clinic – $100,000

Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) Inhibition with INCB024360 and Intraperitoneal Delivery of Allogeneic Natural Killer Cells for Women with Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Melissa A. Geller, M.D., M.S.

Assistant Professor, Department of OB/Gyn and Women’s Health

University of Minnesota – $75,000

Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Directed Therapy against Ovarian Cancer

Dan S. Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation,

University of Minnesota – $100,000

Repurposing the Antimalarial Drug Quinacrine to Treat Ovarian Cancer

Viji Shridhar, Ph.D.

Professor and Consultant, Department of Experimental Pathology

Mayo Clinic – $75,000

Verification of ovarian cancer protein biomarkers in routine Pap tests

Amy P.N. Skubitz, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

University of Minnesota – $100,000

Funded in part by Charlene’s Light

Identification of protein expression patterns as determinants of response to platinum taxane therapy and recurrent disease

Andrea E.  Wahner Hendrickson, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Oncology and Pharmacology

Mayo Clinic – $78,720