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CTSI funds ovarian cancer research

Aug. 21, 2014

A research scientist from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a three-year Mentored Career Development Award from the Clinical & Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) to study the effects of mesothelial cells on patient-derived ovarian cancer spheroids (clusters of ovarian cancer cells).

Erin Bishop, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at MCW and a practicing gynecologic oncologist at Froedtert Hospital, is the recipient of one of four grants awarded this year by the CTSI. The grant provides up to $140,000 per year in salary and benefits, as well as $25,000 to support her research. In addition to the financial support, the grant also provides mentored training opportunities for junior faculty working in clinical and translational research who want to become dedicated, independently funded researchers. Dr. Bishop’s mentor over the next three years is Ramani Ramchandran, Ph.D., vice chair of Research Obstetrics and Gynecology, Patrick J. and Margaret G. McMahon Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, professor of pediatrics and developmental biology and human molecular embryology at the MCW, and an investigator at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute.

Mesothelial cells are cells that line the internal organs and body wall around the abdomen, the lungs, and the heart. The goal of this project is to investigate the effects of mesothelial cells on adhesion and invasion of patient-derived ovarian cancer spheroids (3-dimensional cells) compared to single ovarian cancer cells in vitro, or studied outside normal biological context.

Drs. Bishop and Ramchandran will also focus on the clinical behavior of patient-derived ovarian cancer spheroids compared to single cells and determine if spheroids resist chemotherapy. Doing so will help determine the role of mesothelial cells in triggering ovarian cancer spheroid linkage, invasion, and spreading of cancer cells.

The goal of the CTSI is to create synergy through collaboration, and studies are specifically designed to lead to major future research support. The projects explore findings that have the potential to be translated into clinical practice and community health, and are led by investigators at the CTSI’s eight partnering institutions: the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Milwaukee, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the Clement Zablocki VA Medical Center, and Blood Center of Wisconsin.

CTSI is one of only 62 medical research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Working together, the CTSI institutions are committed to improving human health by streamlining science, transforming training environments and improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and translational research. The CTSI program is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the NIH.

Support for the Mentored Career Development Award Program is provided through the CTSI.

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