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Center for Research on Early Detection and Cure of Ovarian Cancer
March 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 27

George Coukos

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and School of Medicine, and Penn’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have recently announced the establishment of the Center for Research on Early Detection and Cure of Ovarian Cancer.  The Center, to be directed by “internationally renowned gynecologic oncologist and research scientist,” Dr. George Coukos, will focus on developing better detection methods, new treatment therapies, and improving the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.

“There was a tremendous need for this Center and to advance the fight against ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Coukos, Center Director and Director of Gynecologic Oncology Research at Penn. “The need for early detection is crucial to win this fight. If caught in Stage I, the five-year survival rate of ovarian cancer is over 90 percent. If caught in Stage III, the survival rate drops to less than 30 percent.”

Dr. Deborah A. Driscoll, chair of Penn’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology added, “This new Center will provide an infrastructure for ovarian cancer research and treatment and will serve as a catalyst to unite existing talent at Penn, recruit new investigators and promote interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of ovarian cancer.”

Penn’s Center for Research on Early Detection and Cure of Ovarian Cancer features three research programs:

Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program—Lack of early detection or prevention strategies is presently a major cause of poor outcomes in ovarian cancer patients. A screening test for ovarian cancer could save many lives. The research laboratory activities of the Early Detection and Prevention Program focus upon improving the outcomes of ovarian cancer by facilitating the development of new blood tests, new imaging tools, and other innovative techniques, as well as prevention methods.

Ovarian Cancer Advanced Therapeutics Program—This Program will develop novel therapies and will conduct clinical trials to test emerging concepts from the laboratory. The facilities for the new clinical program will be located in Penn’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, to open in 2008.

Ovarian Cancer Biology and Pathogenesis Program—All striving to better understand the pathogenesis and biology of ovarian cancer, several multi-disciplinary laboratories will focus on various aspects of ovarian cancer genomics, genetics, immunology and biology. The discoveries within the laboratories are crucial for the Early Detection and Prevention Program as well as the Advanced Therapeutics Program.

Almanac - March 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 27