NFGC Conducts Multi-Institutional Research Project in Ovarian Cancer

April 23, 2009

$500,000 will be invested in the first phase of this personalized medicine initiative

Tampa, FL – The National Functional Genomics Center, funded through an assistance agreement that is awarded and administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (USAMRMC) and the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), will be conducting a multi-institutional collaborative project in ovarian cancer.

For the first phase of the project, the group will use a biologically-driven approach to characterize gene expression and oncogene activation of copy number and point mutations in preclinical models by profiling ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer stem cells. The consortium will also characterize platinum resistance and the interaction between ovarian cancer cells and the immune environment.

“There is a huge amount of scientific expertise and knowledge being brought to this project,” said Dr. John Parker, Major General, U.S. Army (retired) and NFGC board chair.

The participants who will be sharing data include Jack Pledger, Ph.D., and Johnathan Lancaster, M.D., Ph.D. (Moffitt Cancer Center); Max S. Wicha, M.D., and Weiping Zou, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Medical School); Stephen P. Ethier, Ph.D. (Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute); Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., and Chaoying Yin, Ph.D. (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Mark D. Carlson, M.D., and Tracy Christianson (Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center); and Tak Sugimura, Ph.D. (Hawaii Institute for Molecular Sciences).

“Consortia such as these will greatly accelerate our pace of discovery, such that genomic medicine may become a reality in the near term. We will take advantage of specialized expertise and unique resources at multiple centers to rapidly translate basic scientific findings into clinically useful tools that may help women with ovarian cancer as soon as possible,” said Lancaster, director of The Center for Women’s Oncology at Moffitt, who is leading the NFGC Ovarian Cancer consortium.

The NFGC is funding a clinical trial run by Lancaster and Dr. Robert Wenham that is the first in the world to use the molecular data from an individual woman’s ovarian cancer to select her chemotherapy. This is truly “personalized medicine” and is an enormous step forward in efforts to improve treatment for women with ovarian cancer.

About the National Functional Genomics Center

The NFGC was established to bridge the gap between pure science and patient care and is accelerating applied, translational research by bringing together partners from government, industry, and academia.  The NFGC is using this network to develop strategic alliances that will produce benefits that directly apply to the future military healthcare effectiveness and efficiencies, while aggressively advancing the war on cancer – a disease that causes the death of more than half a million Americans a year.  NFGC research is discovering molecular signatures of cancer that will allow military and civilian personnel anywhere in the world to be quickly and accurately diagnosed and treated based on each individual’s genetic profile. 

The mission of the NFGC is to validate the concept that molecular signatures in tumors predict cancer risk, diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy, as well as to identify new molecular targets for the development of more effective cancer prevention and personalized therapeutic care.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.

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