Ovarian Cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE)

The long-term objective of our NCI-funded Ovarian SPORE program is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of patients with ovarian carcinoma, one of the most lethal cancers in women in the U.S and other industrialized nations. In the U.S. approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, of which 75% present with advanced stage disease and only less than 20% of patients will achieve long-term remission. As a result, 14,000 women die annually. The main reason for this high mortality is the lack of breakthroughs in technology for early diagnosis and novel effective therapies that are based on a better understanding of ovarian cancer biology. Although carboplatin and paclitaxel combined therapy has been successful in prolonging survival, it ultimately fails due to the development of drug resistance to conventional chemotherapy. Consequently, the long term survival (i.e. cure) has not improved although the median progression free survival and median overall survival have improved largely due to improved surgical and perioperative medical management and more effective systemic adjuvant therapy. This approach was reasonable when the precise molecular mechanisms that caused ovarian cancer were not known but this has now changed. The therapeutic strategies used for this disease must be re-focused accordingly. Recent advances in genomics, proteomics, and technology development have provided an unprecedented opportunity to explore the complex genomic landscape, microenvironment, and molecular networks of ovarian cancer and based on these studies develop translational applications for early detection and treatment.
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