In the United States, ~22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and unfortunately, ~14,000 die from this disease. The five-year survival in advanced stages is only about 30%. One major obstacle is the development of platinum-resistant disease during treatment that greatly worsens the prognosis for the patient. There are no effective therapies for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, and it is therefore of utmost importance to develop novel therapeutic strategies.
The Dorigo Lab’s approach is to understand how the body’s immune system, which is subverted by cancer cells, can be released from this restraint and attack the tumor. Our focus is on a white blood cell called the macrophage. Macrophages are well known for their ability to attack infectious agents, but they also play a role in healing tissues. Macrophages can be a substantial cellular component of a tumor, where their healing function is subverted to nourish the tumor and foster its growth. It is our goal to study what it is that causes the macrophage to become pro-tumor and identify therapeutics that can switch macrophages back to an anti-tumor role.
The Stanford Gynecologic Oncology Program, which is part of the Stanford Women's Cancer Center, offers treatments and clincial trials that utilize combined modalities and included advanced surgical techniques for ovarian, fallopian tube, cervical, endometrial and other cancers of the female reproductive system.
Led by Oliver Dorigo, MD, PhD, various clinical studies are conducted through the Laurie Kraus Lacob Program for Gynecologic Oncology and Ovarian Cancer Research and Treatment, and the Cooperative Ovarian Cance Group (COGi). Based at Stanford, COGi, a national cooperative research group for specialized treatments in ovarian cancer, offers novel drugs, vaccines, and immunotherapies to patients treated in the Gynecologic Oncology Program. The goal is to improve outcomes for this challenging disease.