To say that a cure for ovarian cancer, or any cancer for that matter, is the “holy grail” of cancer research is like saying the sky is blue. We all know a cure is the goal. If a cure is the goal, then improved detection, new prevention methods, and new treatments are the low-hanging fruit. This is why the Rivkin Center continues its commitment to investing in cutting edge research to prevent, detect, and yes, cure ovarian cancer.
Every year, the Rivkin Center funds promising research in ovarian cancer, selecting researchers and studies through a highly competitive process. Each application is individually reviewed by a panel of nationally recognized experts for its scientific merit, novelty, and potential to affect the prevention, detection, treatment, and understanding of the disease. Our grants provide seed-funding so that our Awardees can obtain the necessary data to leverage funding from larger federal sources.
The Rivkin Center awards three different types of grants each year to support ovarian cancer research:
- Pilot Study Awards provide $75,000 over two years to fund novel ideas and innovative approaches to long-standing problems in the field.
- Scientific Scholar Awards support young investigators with $120,000 over two years so that we can recruit the brightest minds into ovarian cancer research.
- Bridge Funding Awards provide $30,000 over six months for researchers to improve their high scoring, but unfunded, applications to larger federal funding sources before resubmission.
We are excited to announce our 2022 Rivkin Center Ovarian Cancer Research Grant awardees. This year, we are funding four Pilot Study Awards, two Scientific Scholar Awards, and one Bridge Funding Award. These researchers are leading high-impact projects focused on overcoming resistance to therapy, discovering biomarkers for early detection, improving the efficacy of immunotherapies, and improving the quality of life for ovarian cancer survivors.
- Dr. Toni Antalis at the University of Maryland, Baltimore is using the Rivkin funding to uncover a specific mechanism of chemoresistance to develop a therapy that can re-sensitize metastatic tumors to chemotherapy.
- Dr. Lori Brotto at the University of British Columbia will work with survivors to optimize an online program to psychologically help ovarian cancer survivors with sexual health concerns post-treatment.
- Dr. Hector Franco at the University of North Carolina at Chapel seeks to understand how the expression of genes changes as tumors become resistant to treatment so that he can identify new therapeutic targets.
- Dr. Priyanka Verma at Washington University in St. Louis plans to elucidate a specific mechanism of PARPi resistance to identify new drug targets and identify patients that would benefit from such therapies.
- Dr. Sarah Gitto at the University of Pennsylvania will study the characteristics of immune cells to identify ovarian cancer patients who are good candidates for immunotherapies.
- Dr. Sneha Saxena at Massachusetts General will study a modification to DNA bases that can lead to replication stress in order to identify novel therapeutics and to identify biomarkers for early detection.
- Dr. Carrie House at San Diego State University plans to uncover a specific mechanism by which chemotherapy can promote ovarian cancer cells to develop into cancer stem cells that are resistant to chemotherapy and responsible for recurrent tumors.
These awards are made possible by you, our donors and supporters, through your generous and continued support. Together, we are committed to funding this vital work. Together, we may just find a cure. As long as we continue to fund cutting edge ovarian cancer research we will move ever closer toward that holy grail.
We will be featuring each of our 2022 Awardees on our social media channels in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to get to know each of them and hear what drives their passion for ovarian cancer research.