Ovarian Cancer Researchers at Yale Win Millions in Federal and Foundation Grants

By the time it is detected in many women, ovarian cancer has already spread to a point that makes treatment difficult or impossible. In a boost to their efforts to improve ovarian cancer detection and find a cure for the disease, Yale School of Medicine researchers Gil Mor, M.D., and Alessandro Santin, M.D., have won over $5 million in federal and foundation grants. 

“This support will help keep Yale’s ovarian cancer program on the path of being one of the leaders in the country,” said Mor, highlighting the program’s contribution in basic, translational and clinical research.

Santin received $1.7 million, including two grants from the Istituto Superiore di Sanita (the Italian National Institutes of Health), and another from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for $346,000 per year for five years. Santin’s NCI-funded research is focused on novel therapeutic vaccination strategies for the treatment of HPV-infected cervical cancer patients at early and advanced stages. He also studies new molecularly targeted therapies for the management of chemotherapy resistant ovarian cancer.

Mor will use an annual NCI grant of $314,000 for the next five years to better understand the mechanism by which ovarian cancer resists cell death. “This is a very translational research project. The idea is to develop new therapies that will target cell death pathways and reverse the resistance to chemotherapy,” said Mor.

Another newly awarded five-year NCI grant totaling $1,715,000 will fund Mor’s research into the role inflammation plays in ovarian cancer. This work will focus on how a tumor influences the immune system to promote its own growth and progression.

Mor has also received grants from three foundations to support research into the identification and characterization of ovarian cancer stem cells. “The objective is to develop markers for the identification and new therapies that will target those specific cells,” said Mor. The foundation grants include $150,000 per year for three years from the Janet Burros Memorial Foundation; $50,000 per year for three years from the Sand Foundation; and $50,000 from the Adler Foundation.

Both Mor and Santin are in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and are members of Yale Cancer Center.

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326