2014 Sean Patrick Grant Awarded

September 17, 2014

HERA Foundation Awards Collaborative Grant to University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Researchers Drs. Sood and Bhattacharya Receive $50,000 Grant for Metabolic Imaging Research

DENVER – Sept. 15, 2014 The HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation, a nationally recognized ovarian cancer nonprofit, proudly awards the 2014 Sean Patrick Multidisciplinary Collaborative Grant to Dr. Anil Sood and Dr. Pratip Bhattacharya from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for their research examining the metabolic changes in ovarian cancer tissue.

The Sean Patrick Multidisciplinary Collaborative Grant is an annual award providing $50,000 for a cross-disciplinary collaborative research project focused on the cause, early detection, treatment or understanding of ovarian cancer. The 2014 grant will fund the study of key metabolic differences in ovarian cancer, as well as help to develop new imaging methods based on this knowledge, which can be applied to patients both for early detection and early follow up of the treatment to determine its efficacy.

“This study is ‘high risk’ and ‘high reward’,” said Dr. Sood. “With this grant, we will work to develop new techniques for the imaging of a key metabolic pathway in ovarian cancer to enable early detection and aid in risk stratification, active surveillance and monitoring treatment efficacy. Furthermore, this metabolic imaging platform can be extended to other cancers.”

Sean Patrick, for whom the grant was named, was a champion for innovative ovarian cancer research. She was frustrated that the prognosis for women with ovarian cancer had not changed in decades and by the disproportionate amount of government funds that went to other cancers. To change this course, she founded the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation in 2002 with the mission of stopping the loss of women from ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness.

Ms. Patrick believed that therapies with the most potential are formulated by combining great ideas from different labs and fields. This grant honors that vision and aims to give scientists the opportunity to work together and test ideas that may not be fundable by other agencies.

“The cross-disciplinary strategy involving cancer biology, spin physics and biomedical imaging was a key factor in selecting Drs. Sood and Bhattacharya for the grant,” said Meg Steitz, executive director of HERA. “The purpose of the Sean Patrick Grant is to support new, forward-thinking, risk-taking research to truly affect the survival rate of this insidious disease. This exciting project demonstrates MD Anderson’s commitment to a common goal.”

According to the American Cancer Society, one in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. In 2014, it is estimated that about 21,980 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 14,270 women will die from the disease. With early detection, about 94 percent will survive longer than five years after diagnosis. Currently, however, only 20 percent of ovarian cancer is caught early because there is no effective early detection test. It ranks fifth as the cause of cancer deaths in women and accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

For a detailed overview of Drs. Sood and Bhattacharya’s research, please click here:  2014 Sean Patrick Grant Recipients.

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