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Home > Press > Advances in Ovarian tumor Therapy Made at LIMR

Cancer Research paper shows Nanoparticle Delivery System Slowed Ovarian Tumor Growth

Advances in Ovarian tumor Therapy Made at LIMR

Wynnewood, PA | Posted on September 4th, 2009

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women and remains the leading cause of cancer death from gynecologic cancers. Currently, there is no effective therapy for patients with advanced ovarian cancer. Dr. Janet Sawicki, Professor at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), along with its collaborating institution, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), published a paper in Cancer Research whose findings suggest a potential new therapy to treat advanced stage ovarian cancer. Dr. Sawicki and her colleagues conducted preclinical tests using three different animal models to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of using nanoparticles to deliver a diphtheria toxin suicide gene. DNA sequences, called promoters, were used to target production of the toxin protein to tumor cells. Nanoparticles were injected directly into tumors or injected into the peritoneal cavity where most of the tumors are located.

Treatment with the nanotherapy reduced tumor mass and prolonged lifespan as compared to the
control group. It also suppressed tumor growth better than two commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs, cisplatin and paclitaxel. The researchers observed very little non-specific toxicity in normal, healthy tissues.

"Unlike chemotherapy, which can destroy both cancer and healthy cells and lead to many adverse effects, this new therapy specifically targets cancer cells and leaves the healthy cells alone," stated Dr. Sawicki. "Our hope is to begin doing clinical trials in patients in the next 18 to 24 months and then potentially tailor this therapy to treat different solid tumor types including pancreatic, prostate, and cervical cancers."

A resident of Newtown Square, PA, Dr. Sawicki joined the LIMR staff in 1990 after serving as an Assistant Professor at the Wistar Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Genetics from Cornell University and her B.A. in Biology from the University of Delaware. Dr. Sawicki also completed postdoctoral work at Yale University and the University of California, San Francisco. She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. Her ovarian cancer research is funded by the NIH, the Department of Defense, the Sandy Rollman Foundation, WAWA, the Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation.


About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Founded in 1927, the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research center located in suburban Philadelphia on the campus of the Lankenau Hospital. As part of the Main Line Health System, LIMR is one of the few freestanding, hospital-associated medical research centers in the nation. The faculty and staff at the Institute are dedicated to advancing an understanding of the causes of cancer and heart disease. They use this information to help improve diagnosis and treatment of these diseases as well as find ways to prevent them. They are also committed to extending the boundaries of human health and well-being through technology transfer and education directed at the scientific, clinical, business and lay public communities.

About Cancer Research

Cancer Research is published twice a month, one volume/year, by the American Association for Cancer Research, Inc. It publishes significant, original studies in all areas of basic, clinical, translational, epidemiological, and prevention research devoted to the study of cancer and cancer-related biomedical sciences. Papers are stringently reviewed and only those that report results of novel, timely, and significant research and meet high standards of scientific merit are accepted for publication.

About David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Launched by MIT in 2008, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (KI) both transforms and transcends the Center for Cancer Research (CCR). CCR was founded in 1974 by Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor Salvador Luria, CCR has made enormous contributions to the field of cancer research. The Koch is one of only seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic research centers in the US and is comprised of faculty that have earned the most prestigious national and international science honors including the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science. For more information visit:

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Tava Shanchuk
(610) 645-3429

Copyright © Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

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