Sarasota/Manatee/Moffitt Women’s Cancer Awareness Luncheon Coming in January Broadcaster and Author Cokie Roberts to be Guest Speaker

October 27, 2009

Tampa, FL– The Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation will hostthe 11th Annual Sarasota/Manatee/Moffitt Women’s Cancer Awareness Luncheon at noon Jan. 14 at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. Longtime ABC News analyst and best-selling author Cokie Roberts will be the keynote speaker. Roberts, the author of several books about women in America, has won countless awards during her 40 years in broadcasting.                    

She will join Johnathan M. Lancaster, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Women’s Oncology at Moffitt and chairman of its Department of Women’s Oncology, and Christine Laronga, M.D., FACS, program chief of Moffitt’s Don and Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program, for an entertaining and information-packed luncheon. Lancaster will share news about breakthroughs in research and treatments of women’s gynecologic cancers, including basic science and clinical trials that explore the genetic “fingerprint” of a patient’s cancer and known resistance to treatment. Laronga will report on plans for a landmark clinical study involving mastectomy patients.

“Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of the gynecologic cancers,” Lancaster said. “It kills more women than any other type of gynecologic cancer. Patients do well initially until they become resistant to chemotherapy.”

Lancaster and his colleague Robert M. Wenham, M.D., M.S., FACOG, are part of a landmark national study to discover ways to counter resistance to ovarian cancer treatments. The study uses genetic expression signatures from the patient’s tumor as a biomarker to select a woman’s chemotherapy. Researchers take a biopsy of the tumor, extract its genetic material, place the material on a gene chip, and create a personalized fingerprint to predict the tumor’s response to different anticancer agents. This research allows physicians to select one of the two common, frontline drugs that work better in certain patients with platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer.

Moderator Heidi Godman, the medical editor at WWSB, ABC 7, will be on hand to welcome guests and field questions. To purchase a ticket or for more information, contact Sue Bliss in the Moffitt Foundation at 1-800-456-3434, Ext. 4860, or (813) 745-4860 or visit us online at

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s 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.