About Women's Reproductive Cancers Research at NYSCF FAQs
About Women’s Reproductive Cancers
Women’s reproductive cancers (such as ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, and cervical cancer) are massively underfunded given their deadly toll on society, and as a result remain very challenging to treat. Over 100,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with reproductive cancers each year, and over 32,000 women die annually from these cancers. The NYSCF Women’s Reproductive Cancer Initiative aims to drive a paradigm shift in the way these cancers are studied and treated, in collaboration with leading cancer experts across the globe.
Our work begins with ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest types. Five years after diagnosis, ovarian cancer survival rates are just 47% – a number that has not changed in the past 25 years. This is partly due to the high frequency of patient relapses (over 75%) with cancers exhibiting drug resistance, making these cancers extremely difficult to treat effectively. Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed at very late stages because of the vague symptoms and lack of effective screening strategies.
Women’s Reproductive Cancer Research at NYSCF
A major limiting factor in understanding and treating ovarian cancer is the lack of experimental models that recapitulate the particularities of each patient’s cancer. Moreover, cancer samples taken from patients have a finite lifetime which restricts what researchers can learn about each patient’s disease. At NYSCF, we are taking samples of patient tumors and using them to generate self-renewing stem cells and 3D aggregates of tissue (called “organoids”) that recapitulate how different cells within each patient’s tumor interact. Our world-leading expertise in stem cell technology positions us to create these new, more effective, personalized models of cancer.
Stem cells and organoids provide an infinite lifespan during which we can study tumor cell behavior, test drugs, and identify optimal treatment courses for specific patients. They also help recreate early stages of the disease, allowing us to identify markers for early detection and examine how individual genetic risk factors influence each patient’s experience of ovarian cancer. Our goal at NYSCF is to build a living biobank of cancer samples as a resource to advance the field.
In addition to the major unmet medical need for more advanced and innovative research solutions for these cancers, increased awareness of these issues is crucial for improving diagnosis, survival rates, and treatment effectiveness. NYSCF regularly holds scientific and patient-focused events that educate the public about these issues and present the latest advancements in women’s cancer research.
The launch event in this series, “Improving Outcomes of Women’s Reproductive Cancers,” will be held on April 3rd at the NYSCF Research Institute and will feature a panel discussion moderated by NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon, JD and including NYSCF Senior Principal Scientist in Oncology Laura Andres-Martin, PhD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute Chief of Gynecologic Oncology Ursula Matulonis, MD, SEngine Precision Medicine CEO Carla Grandori, MD, PhD, and Columbia University Assistant Professor of Medicine Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil.
Women's Reproductive Cancers Panel
April 3, 2019 (6:30 – 8:30 pm)
Susan L. Solomon, JD
The NYSCF Research Institute
Laura Andres-Martin, PhD
The NYSCF Research Institute
Carla Grandori, MD, PhD
SEngine Precision Medicine
Ursula Matulonis, MD
Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil
Columbia University Irving Medical Center