Northside Hospital - Advancing ovarian cancer research toward personalized medicine: the future is now

Advancing ovarian cancer research toward personalized medicine: the future is now

Posted on: September 14, 2017


Dr. Benedict B. Benigno, director of gynecologic oncology at Northside Hospital and CEO of the Ovarian Cancer Institute (OCI), is on the cutting edge of early detection and more effective treatments for women with ovarian cancer. The OCI is an innovative collaboration between oncologist Dr. Benigno and scientist John McDonald, director of the Integrated Cancer Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Using tissue and serum samples from Dr. Benigno’s ovarian cancer patients, the OCI-funded laboratory at Georgia Tech has established a highly comprehensive ovarian cancer research program. Cutting-edge nano-engineering technologies are being applied in the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

Researchers supported by OCI developed an early ovarian cancer diagnostic test using a unique approach that studies metabolites. In the Gaul D, et al study, 16 metabolites identified early stage ovarian cancer with a high level of accuracy (100% in the initial patient cohort).1 These results highlight the importance of lipid and fatty acid metabolism in ovarian cancer and serve as the foundation of a clinically significant diagnostic test. Dr. Benigno and colleagues are now working toward validation of the test for commercial use. Hopefully, within 3-5 years this early detection blood test will be a standard part of a woman’s annual wellness visit, once recommended by relevant guidelines.

Most women with ovarian cancer are subject to extensive surgery and toxic chemotherapy that harms both healthy and cancerous cells. On the personalized medicine forefront, Drs. Benigno and McDonald are developing a micro-RNA delivery system that would theoretically eliminate the tumor without systemic side effects.2 It is the hope that in the not-too-distant future, these cutting-edge nano-engineering technologies will be widely used for the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. Dr. Benigno’s work offers a glimpse into the future of individualized cancer care.

1 Gaul D et al. Sci Rep. 2015;5:16351
2 Satpathy M et al. Sci Rep. 2016;6:36518

Filed under: Cancer, Latest News & Technology,


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