As MOCA celebrates our 20th anniversary this year, we are profiling a MOCA supporter each month. Some will have long-standing ties with our organization, and some will have connected with us more recently. They’ll all share a common thread of caring deeply about MOCA’s mission.
Our March profile is focused on a University of Minnesota gynecologic oncologist and ovarian cancer researcher who has been involved with MOCA since 2010. We invite you to meet Dr. Melissa Geller.
How did you first become connected with MOCA?
I first became connected with MOCA in 2010 when I received a MOCA grant for my research investigating natural killer (NK) cells for women with recurrent ovarian cancer.
I was 5 years into being new faculty at the University of Minnesota and really embarking into my career looking for innovative therapies for women with ovarian cancer. Since that time I have been so fortunate to have received multiple grants from MOCA that have supported my research and clinical trials available to women in Minnesota with this disease.
How have you have been involved with MOCA?
Over many years I have spoken at the MOCA’s annual HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer; I’ve been interviewed locally on behalf of MOCA to spread the word to the community regarding the warning signs of this disease. I have spoken to the Jewish community regarding the increased risk of hereditary ovarian cancer in their population; I have attended annual meetings to speak about my research to members of MOCA and on a daily basis I refer my patients to MOCA as a resource for them throughout their disease.
What does MOCA mean to you?
MOCA has really given me the opportunity, through research dollars, to fund many of the clinical trials we have brought to women with ovarian cancer in Minnesota. Without that funding, many of these trials would never have been done. The dedication that MOCA has shown to women with this disease, their families, and to finding a cure is unrelenting.
What is your hope for the next 20 years of MOCA?
Honestly, I would hope in 20 years that MOCA exists on a much smaller scale. If that were the case, that means a screening test had been discovered and there was a cure. I would be thrilled with this scenario.
How do you plan on marking the 20thanniversary of MOCA in 2019?
I am planning on attending the MOCA 20thAnniversary Black, White & Teal Gala wearing teal!