With the launch of Project Sweetheart in the spring of 2014, Cure First has been actively pursuing the identification of less-toxic targeted therapies for ovarian and breast cancers. Currently, there are only two FDA-approved targeted therapies for ovarian cancer which patients can turn to after standard chemotherapy efforts fail: olaparib, a PARP inhibitor that is approved for use in BRCA-mutated cancers, and bevacizumab, an angiogenesis inhibitor that works by slowing the growth of blood vessels within the tumor. While these two drugs are both significantly less toxic than typical chemotherapies, patients often become resistant to them after 4 to 18 months, highlighting the dire need for therapies with long-term effectiveness.

   CANCER AVATARS: Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mice provide arguably the closest model to human cancer available without using humans themselves. To develop a PDX mouse model, we will engraft human tumor tissue into mice and then treat the mice with a combination of drugs that we have identified through the integration of many research platforms. By using PDX models, we are able to assess the effect that these targeted therapies have on a living breathing system, incorporating essential aspects such as the tumor micro-environment and drug clearance. This work will hopefully lead to the advancement of new combinatorial therapy and increased patient survival in breast and ovarian cancer. This experiment will require up to 40 mice and will take approximately six months to complete.    

  

CANCER AVATARS: Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mice provide arguably the closest model to human cancer available without using humans themselves. To develop a PDX mouse model, we will engraft human tumor tissue into mice and then treat the mice with a combination of drugs that we have identified through the integration of many research platforms. By using PDX models, we are able to assess the effect that these targeted therapies have on a living breathing system, incorporating essential aspects such as the tumor micro-environment and drug clearance. This work will hopefully lead to the advancement of new combinatorial therapy and increased patient survival in breast and ovarian cancer.

This experiment will require up to 40 mice and will take approximately six months to complete. 

  

Reid is visually inspecting the quality of the drug dilutions which will be tested on patient-derived ovarian cancer cells. The diluted drugs are added with the aid of robotic liquid-handling equipment, thus minimizing hands-on time and increasing efficiency.

Reid is visually inspecting the quality of the drug dilutions which will be tested on patient-derived ovarian cancer cells. The diluted drugs are added with the aid of robotic liquid-handling equipment, thus minimizing hands-on time and increasing efficiency.

Research Fellow Reid Shaw is focused on identifying targeted and less-toxic drugs that work synergistically with current treatments to prevent single-agent resistance and increase the progression-free survival. Reid’s interdisciplinary research strategy has identified two drug combinations that preferentially kill cancer cells while preserving the viability of normal cells. Project Sweetheart urgently needs funding in order for Reid to conduct an in vivo experiment using patient-derived ovarian cancer cells in avatar mice to make sure that the proposed combinations are safe and effective.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 so that we can fund this critical project and continue to expand treatment options for cancer patients. Your donation will directly support this vital trial and will help usher in the next generation of ovarian and breast cancer treatments.