Roswell receives SPORE grant for Ovarian Cancer research

Oct 8, 2013

Roswell Park Cancer Institute has been awarded a major grant for Ovarian Cancer research. WBFO's Eileen Buckley says this is a a Specialized Program of Research in Excellence Grant is known as SPORE.

SPORE Grant announced at Roswell Park
Credit Photo from Roswell Park

"Ovarian Cancer is a real bad actor," said Dr. Candance Johnson, deputy director at Roswell.

The National Cancer Institute is providing $11-million in funding to Roswell in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute for Ovarian cancer research. 

Each year the disease claims the lives of more than 14,000.

Dr. Kunle Odunsi is principal investigator at Roswell Park for this SPORE grant.

"Over the past 12 years studies conducted here at Roswell Park clearly indicated that the immune system has the ability to recognize and destroy Ovarian Cancer cells," said Dr. Odunsi.

The research will concentrate on the immune system in the patients with four projects planned. Three are clinical trails.

"Project one, for Ovarian Cancer patients in remission. This patient have a high risk of relapse " The goal is to empower the patients immune system with a powerful vaccine," said Dr. Odunsi.

Project two will examine those who have a relapse. Their white blood cells will be rearranged outside the body.

In project three, researchers will review newly diagnosed patients. A portion of tumor cells from their surgery will be used to manufacture a vaccine to create "killer cells."

Dr. Odunsi said the fourth project involves a study to look at the ways to reduce risk of this cancer.

"Project four has global implications. It is going to be testing 20,000 women from across the world," said Dr. Odunsi.

The an overall goal is to prolong survival for the patients.

Competition for the SPORE grant was very high -- it is only the 5th awarded in the nation and the first in New York State.