Ovarian Cancer

Principal Investigators

Ronald Buckanovich, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Director of the Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence
Co-Director of the Womens Cancer Research Center
Magee-Womens Research Institute
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
University of Pittsburgh
204 Craft Avenue, B333
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Robert Edwards, MD
Milton Lawrence McCall Professor and Chair
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Co-Director, Gynecologic Oncology Research
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
300 Halket Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213



The overall goal of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center (HCC) OvCa SPORE is to prevent and/or overcome therapeutic resistance to improve patient survival. Each of the SPORE’s three Projects evolved from the innovative concepts and findings of SPORE investigators. Each project involves a clinical trial with a new agent. In addition, each project, through complementary investigator expertise, incorporates critical translational aims to identify patients most likely to respond to therapy.

Project 1 will assess the ability of inhibitors of the epigenetic regulator EZH2 to prevent/overcome OvCa stromal progenitor cell-driven resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Project 2 will determine whether BET inhibitors, which downregulate critical DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoint proteins, can reverse resistance to PARP inhibitors.

Project 3 will test whether inhibitors of the hedgehog signaling pathway, which drives tumor immune exclusion, can improve OvCa patient response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

The HCC OvCa SPORE will include a Career Enhancement Program (CEP) and Developmental Research Program (DRP) in order to both encourage early career investigators to enter the field of translational OvCa research and engage more established investigators in OvCa research. The CEP and the DRP, which are cost-shared and proactive at providing research funding to investigators from under-represented minority groups, will provide a pipeline of potential future SPORE Projects.

All SPORE, CEP, and DRP Projects will be receive fiscal and scientific oversight from an Administrative Core and support from two shared resource cores. The Translational Pathology Core will collect, annotate, archive, and distribute biospecimens and clinical data derived from the more than 300 HCC OvCa patients seen each year. It will also develop new preclinical experimental models that behave more like human OvCa. The Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core will aid in design and analysis of all studies, including ‘omic’ technologies that can provide molecular and spatial characterization of individual cells within a tumor.