The Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper (H.O.W) organization announced today that they have awarded a $100,000 fellowship grant to a team of researchers at University of South Florida (USF Health) and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Mitchel Hoffman, Nadim Bou Zgheib and Johnathan Lancaster will study a genetic pathway that causes ovarian cancer cells to stop responding to chemotherapy.

?Ovarian cancer is the most deadly gynecologic cancer,? noted Hoffman, USF professor, director of Gynecologic Oncology, and associate vice president for Cancer Services. ?Patients lose their battle with the disease when their tumor becomes resistant to treatment.?

?We are delighted to be able to fund the ground-breaking work of the USF/Moffitt gynecologic oncology team, and thank all our supporters who have made it possible. We are optimistic that this research will improve treatment for patients with ovarian cancer in the near future?, said Jennifer McGrath, Program Administrator for H.O.W.

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If researchers can understand the genetic changes that cause cancers to become chemo-resistant, they may be able to develop drugs to reverse the process and prolong survival.

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Dr. Lancaster, chair of the Department of Women?s Oncology at Moffitt, led the team that previously discovered that the genetic pathway (called BCL2 antagonist of cell death, or ?BAD? for short) may cause chemo-resistance. Working with Hoffman and Nadim Bou Zgheib, a GYN Oncology fellow at USF and Moffitt, Lancaster?s laboratory team will study the genetic sequence of the BAD gene to understand why the pathway causes cancer cells to resist chemotherapy.

?We are greatly honored to receive this award and deeply indebted to the H.O.W organization for their support,? said Lancaster. ?It will not only enable us to advance ovarian cancer research to better treat patients, but also cements a long-standing clinical, educational and now research partnership between the USF and Moffitt GYN-Oncology teams.?

?The grant has enormous potential benefit to our two institutions, and also to ovarian cancer research in the state,? Hoffman said Hoffman.

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