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Last Updated: 05/09/2016

DCTD Convenes Workshop on Translational Research in Ovarian and Gynecologic Cancers

On May 4, 2016, members of the translational ovarian and gynecologic (GYN) cancer research communities participated in a workshop at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (agenda). With input from ovarian and GYN cancer investigators funded through the NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) p50 grant funding mechanism, NCI’s Translational Research Program staff planned the interactive forum. The diverse group of 90 attendees included NCI staff, NCI-supported investigators with ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancer expertise, and patient advocates. The presentations and discussions concentrated on defining obstacles to success in immunotherapy of ovarian and GYN cancers, identifying crucial resources to overcome these obstacles, and suggesting ways in which NCI can facilitate progress. The participants also focused on other related translational research topics: PARP inhibitors and early detection of ovarian cancer.

Four meeting sessions that included 19 presentations reflected the following critical areas of ovarian and GYN cancer translational research:

  • Immunotherapy — Chair: Kunle Odunsi, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
    The speakers delineated strategies to overcome immunosuppression of T cells carrying engineered receptors and discussed the influence of genetic variations on the immunosuppression pathways that may affect ovarian cancer survival. In addition, this session focused on developing new immunotherapeutic interventions that involved DC1-mediated sensitization of cytotoxic T cell lymphocytes (CTLs), directing CTLs to the target using antigenic peptides, programming hematopoetic stem cells for long-term targeted T cell therapy, and therapeutic targeting of MUC16/CA125.

  • Highlights in Ovarian and GYN Cancer — Chair: Kirsten Moysich, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
    Three presentations addressed recent developments in ovarian and GYN cancer research, including an epithelial junction opener that facilitates drug penetration in solid tumors, targeting ubiquitin receptor RPN13/ADRM1 with bis-benzylidine piperidones, and the mechanisms of resistance to anti-angiogenic therapies.

  • PARP Inhibitor-based Therapy — Chair: Scott Kaufmann, Mayo Clinic
    The speakers discussed mechanisms of PARP inhibitor sensitivity and resistance in relation to ovarian and GYN cancers.

  • Early Detection in Ovarian Cancer — co-Chairs: Nicole Urban, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Robert Bast, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    The participants discussed the approaches that the NCI’s Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) is using to discover new ovarian biomarkers for early detection. Speakers also focused on the strategies to optimize existing ovarian biomarkers, including CA125, HE4, CA72.4, and a number of auto-antibodies that may be useful to detect early stages of ovarian cancer.

The workshop provided a venue to identify new synergies and collaborative opportunities between SPOREs and promoted their interaction with other programs and networks supported by the NCI.