First Canary Foundation Researcher Awarded SPORE in Ovarian Cancer Research

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 General News
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SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 2 Canary Foundation announces its first researcher, Nicole Urban, Sc.D., and collaborators are awarded 5 years of renewed funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium (POCRC) Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE). The SPORE grant will allow Dr. Urban and fellow researchers to continue work in locating tumor markers and developing blood tests to identify and assess risk and early detection of ovarian cancer. The Listwin Family Foundation and Canary Foundation have been funding Dr. Urban's research since 2002.

"Canary Foundation is proud and grateful of all of Dr. Urban's accomplishments," said Don Listwin, founder and chairman of the organization. "More importantly, we are excited to see the promise of Dr. Urban's research come to fruition in this next SPORE funding cycle."

The renewed POCRC SPORE is a $2.3 million per year grant that spans 5 years, totaling $11.5 million in early detection ovarian cancer research through June 2014. The funding for the SPORE began in July of last year. Dr. Urban's project, titled "Randomized Controlled Trial Using Novel Markers to Predict Malignancy in Elevated Risk Women," is one of five projects included in the POCRC SPORE.

Dr. Urban is a full member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and an Early Detection Project Co-Investigator. She has been the Principal Investigator (PI) of many ovarian cancer research grants involving behavioral/psychosocial interventions, micro simulation modeling, and early detection. Dr. Urban's extensive knowledge in quantitative research and cancer screening has immensely aided Canary's commitment to collaboration and innovation in hopes of identifying and isolating cancer at its earliest, most curable stage.

In the first SPORE funding cycle, Dr. Urban and collaborators developed the HE4 biomarker. HE4 is more effective than CA125, which is currently the most widely used serum biomarker for detecting ovarian cancer and is considered to be the "gold" standard. The newly awarded SPORE will allow Dr. Urban to continue research of the HE4 biomarker and bring it to a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Collaborators on this project include Beth Karlan, MD at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) in Los Angeles, Jonathan Berek, MD at Stanford in Palo Alto, Pam Paley, MD at Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) in Seattle, and Melanie Palomares, MD at City of Hope (COH) in Duarte, California.

Dr. Urban is optimistic of the outcomes of this SPORE cycle. "Taken together, the projects in this SPORE are likely to contribute importantly to the outcomes of ovarian cancer because they introduce novel interventions designed to detect and treat ovarian cancer earlier and more effectively than ever before," she stated.

Other projects in the POCRC SPORE include, "Ovarian Cancer Imaging Using Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS)" by Sanjiv (Sam) Gambhir, MD, PhD of Stanford University and Canary Center at Stanford University for Cancer Early Detection and Charles Drescher, MD of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; "MicroRNA Signature of Poorly Resectable Ovarian Cancer" by Muneesh Tewari, MD, PhD, Charles Drescher, MD, and Martin McIntosh, PhD of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; "Clinical Implication of the Acquisition of BRCA1/2 Function in BRCA1/2 Deficient Ovarian Carcinoma" by Toshiyasu Taniguchi, MD, PhD of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Elizabeth Swisher, MD of University of Washington; and "Vaccinating against IGFBP-2 to Prevent Ovarian Cancer Relapse" by Mary L. Disis, MD, Lupe G. Salazar, MD, and Ron Swensen, MD of the University of Washington.

About Canary Foundation

Canary Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the goal of identifying cancer early through a simple blood test and then isolating it with imaging. Since 2004, Canary has raised over $30 million to support early detection research. Its collaborative research programs span multiple disciplines and institutions. One hundred percent of donations go to early detection research activities. For more information, please visit

About the POCRC

The Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium (POCRC) is a community-based, multidisciplinary, translational research program that involves clinicians, laboratory scientists and public health scientists from several research and medical institutions along the Pacific Coast.

SOURCE Canary Foundation

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