RPCI granted $11M for ovarian cancer study

September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM EDT

By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First


RPCI granted $11M for ovarian cancer study

September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM EDT

Roswell Park Cancer Institute has received a major boost for its ovarian cancer research: a new $11 million federal grant.

The five-year grant comes from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) through its Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), a highly competitive grant program designed to speed promising therapies to patients toward the goal of reducing cancer incidence and mortality and improving survival and quality of life.

Roswell Park's grant will support the study of new immunotherapy approaches for treatment and risk assessment of ovarian cancer.

Principal investigator on the grant is Dr. Kunle Odunsi, chair of gynecologic oncology and director of Roswell Park's Center for Immunotherapy. Odunsi was responsible for developing a cell vaccine and is leading trials to evaluate its effectiveness in treating ovarian cancer.

Others on the team include Kirsten Moysich, from Roswell Park's department of cancer prevention and control; and Dr. Robert Edwards, a gynecologic oncologist from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Dr. Donald Trump, Roswell Park's president and CEO, announced the grant in its Roswellness Connections email newsletter. More details on the project are expected to announced during a press conference on Oct. 7.

According to Roswell Park, the grant is only the fifth SPORE grant ever awarded for research in ovarian cancer, and the first SPORE ovarian cancer research grant to be awarded to researchers in Upstate New York.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013, about 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 14,030 women will die of ovarian cancer in the United States. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers.

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