2005 Ann Schreiber Grant Recipient – Amy French

Amy French Bland, M.D.
Duke University
Chemical Changes on DNA May Be a Way to Screen for Ovarian Cancer and its Recurrence

Project Summary

Dr. French is studying whether chemical changes to the DNA of patients with ovarian cancer might offer a new approach to develop a screening test for ovarian cancer. Currently, no screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer exists; as a result, most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the disease has progressed and treatment options become limited. The chemical change Dr. French is studying is called methylation. Methylation is one way cells control the activity of genes, but its role in ovarian cancer is underexplored. In her project, Dr. French aims to identify the differences in methylation patterns in the DNA of women with and without ovarian cancer and to use these patterns for the early detection of ovarian cancer. She also hopes to characterize methylation patterns that arise during recurrence, to identify women at risk for recurrence and to find candidate genes to target for new drug development.