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Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) have led the way in advocacy, research and support for patients and their families for over 22 years. As of January 2016, we are pleased to announce we are joining together to form Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families. Read the exciting news!


OCRF Research Shows Targeting Notch Pathway Helps Overcome Platinum Resistance


OCRF Grantee Daniela Dinulescu, PhD

Research funded by OCRF and published in the Sept. 27 edition of PNaS suggests that the Notch3 signaling pathway plays an important role in the maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and platinum resistance in ovarian cancer.  OCRF grantee Daniela Dinulescu, PhD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was the senior author on the paper. 

Cancer stem cells, which are unharmed by traditional chemotherapies, are a major contributor to the development of chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer patients.  The team of researchers investigated a dual-combination therapy, which focused on Notch pathway inhibitors, which target CSCs, as well as regular chemotherapy.  The results indicate that: 1) the Notch pathway is important in the maintenance of CSCs, and in the development of chemoresistance; therefore, 2) Notch pathway inhibitors may be useful in treating ovarian cancer patients. 

The authors write that their study “suggests an important clinical application of Notch pathway inhibitors in newly diagnosed and relapsed ovarian cancer patients.  Long-term survival of ovarian cancer patients is low because of high rates of therapeutic failure and tumor relapse.  A cure likely necessitates eradication of drug-resistant CSCs in addition to the bulk of non-CSC tumor cells, which commonly are targeted by conventional chemotherapy.   Patient stratification based on their individual genetic make-up and the addition of a front-line therapeutic agent that targets and sensitizes CSCs may result in more effective therapies for ovarian cancer patients.” 

You can read an abstract of the article here.