OCRF & Ovarian Cancer National Alliance are now one strong, united, inspiring voice!
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!

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2004 Ann Schreiber Grant Recipient – Brian Barnett

Brian Barnett, M.D.
Tulane University Health Sciences Center
Depleting Regulatory T Cells To Treat Ovarian Cancer

Project Summary

In many ovarian cancer patients, initial response to chemotherapy is good and the tumor will shrink or go away. However, in a number of patients, a few cancer cells remain in their body at the end of what looks like successful therapy and within two years the cancer will recur. Limited treatment options are available for patients with relapses.

One emerging treatment of relapsed cancer is to try to improve the patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer. There are different types of cells in the immune system, but one of the more important types that protect against cancer is the T cell. T cells are immune cells that help fight off colds and viruses and are thought to help fight off cancers as well. But a certain type of T cell in cancer patients, called the regulatory T cell, seems to prevent the killing of tumor cells. Dr. Barnett’s group has shown that large numbers of these regulatory T cells, or T-regs for short, predict poor survival in ovarian cancer. So rather than helping to kill the tumor, it looks like these T-regs are killing the body’s killer cells, similar to friendly fire, when soldiers shoot their fellow soldiers not the enemy.

Dr. Barnett is conducting a clinical trial using a targeted drug to selectively take out those bad actor T cells that look like they are preventing cancer tumor immunity. The goal: to allow the immune system to recover and attack those last few tumor cells.