01 May Individualized Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
About 500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually in Wisconsin. Even after treatment, this disease recurs in about 75 percent of patients, according to Janet Rader, MD, a Medical College of Wisconsin gynecologic oncologist and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. When ovarian cancer does come back, it greatly diminishes the patient’s chances of survival.
A research project under way seeks to improve the odds of survival by better matching medications with individual patients.
Led by Dr. Rader and William Bradley, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin gynecologic oncologists, and teaming with UW-Madison and Medical College bioinformaticists (those who apply computer science, statistics and mathematics to biological systems), researchers are analyzing existing tumor databases, including 500-plus ovarian tumor samples collected by the nationwide Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA).
“We’re looking at the tendencies of the cancers and expression of genes, hoping to find out which cancers and which gene expression patterns respond to certain treatments,” Dr. Bradley said. By examining how tumor cells have responded to different therapies, Drs. Rader and Bradley expect to develop a profile for predicting which drugs will work best on each patient.
The research is being funded through the support of Froedtert Hospital Foundation donors.