MOCA Research Profile: Naoko Sasamoto, M.D., M.P.H.

“I am grateful to MOCA supporters and their passion, courage and effort to make critical advancements in ovarian cancer research.” – Naoko Sasamoto, M.D., M.P.H., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Naoko Sasamoto is a Research Fellow in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At MOCA’s Annual Meeting in May, Dr. Sasamoto was awarded $50,000 in MOCA funding through a National Early Detection Research Award (NEDRA) for her project titled, “High throughput proteomics profiling for identification of early detection biomarkers of high-grade serous ovarian cancer.”

MOCA is committed to funding research on an early detection test for ovarian cancer and our NEDRA funds help get us closer to that goal by funding promising ovarian cancer research projects on the national level.

We asked Dr. Sasamoto to explain her research project and tell us why MOCA funding from supporters like you is so vital.

The problem:

There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer for the general public – meaning, too often, women are diagnosed at a later stage.

The project:

The primary objective of my research is to discover novel protein biomarkers in blood for early detection of ovarian cancer.

In this project, we will study blood samples from women with ovarian cancer collected three years prior to their diagnosis. We’ll apply cutting-edge technology which can simultaneously measure more than 1,300 proteins. We’re hopeful that results from this study will lead to discovery of novel biomarkers that can be used for ovarian cancer screening, which will have a great impact on improving ovarian cancer survival.

Why do you think this project holds so much promise?

This innovative project will enable us to analyze blood collected years before women were diagnosed of advanced stage ovarian cancer, which is the ideal time window for “early” diagnosis.

What does this funding from MOCA mean to you? 

This funding has not only opened new opportunities for me as a junior investigator to grow in this field but also encouraged me to continue my research on identifying novel strategies for earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Support from people like you spurs on promising research. MOCA is a national leader in ovarian cancer research funding, having provided nearly $9 million to ovarian cancer research.