Under One Umbrella: Philanthropic Impacts
The principal areas of research in our center focus on new methods of screening, early detection, and treatment for breast and gynecologic cancers. We are pleased to share with you some recent advances and research highlights from work made possible by philanthropic generosity.
Through seed funding provided by the 2022 Cancer Innovation Awards, nine new projects received support for research—from the utilization of artificial intelligence in treatment customization and community-based cancer screenings for refugees, to the development of new antibody targets for better breast cancer treatments, growing 3-D fallopian tube samples, and testing the effects of pathogens that may contribute to ovarian cancer initiation and progression.
Advancements in a new diagnostic method called liquid biopsy, which Stanford is at the forefront of developing, are progressing for women with breast cancer. With a small blood draw from the patient, researchers can now examine circulating tumor DNA—fragments of tumor cells shed into the bloodstream—which serve as an early warning sign of hidden or recurrent disease. Detecting circulating tumor DNA during treatment and years into remission may indicate the need to escalate or resume treatment, whereas its absence could facilitate safe treatment de-escalation.
There have been important contributions made to improve care for women with endometrial cancer. Ongoing clinical trials are underway to test whether the cancer can be kept at bay by combining chemotherapy with drugs that boost the immune system. Novel antibody therapeutics have been combined and are being studied in patients with recurrent disease. Without our generous donors, we would struggle to support the coordination required to implement these trials.
A first-of-its-kind clinical trial for ovarian cancer was launched recently, testing an innovative way of using white blood cells to deliver cancer treatment directly to tumors. Stanford is advancing the use of this minimally invasive diagnostic as an early warning sign of hidden or recurrent disease. With a small blood draw from the patient, researchers can examine circulating tumor DNA—fragments of tumor cells shed into the bloodstream—to determine the need to escalate or resume treatment, or to facilitate safe treatment de-escalation. Read more>