Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving funds two projects for 2014

The Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving, a group of philanthropists who pool and target their resources to advance women’s health research at OHSU, has awarded two $125,000 grants for 2014:

Stephen Yun-Chi Chui, M.D. and Paul T. Spellman, Ph.D.

“Development of a blood-based system to detect residual disease after curative therapy in breast cancer”
Stephen Chui, M.D., assistant professor of hematology and oncology, and Paul Spellman, Ph.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics, both in the OHSU School of Medicine, seek to develop a blood-based system to detect remaining cancer cells after therapy in triple-negative (and eventually all) breast cancers. In other words, Drs. Chui and Spellman hope to detect any tumor cells that might have escaped surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, only to metastasize later in a woman who was believed to be cancer free. The researchers hope that their new technique will help identify tiny amounts of cancer cells that are currently undetectable, and thus eventually enable treatment much earlier than is currently possible.

Knight Cancer Challenge grant recipient: Summer L. Gibbs, Ph.D.

“Predicting breast cancer therapy outcome with 20-color immunofluorescence imaging”
Summer Gibbs, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine, will also work on innovative research involving triple-negative breast cancer. Working with Dr. Lisa Coussens, she will use a novel high-resolution 20-color immunofluorescence imaging technology to better understand the complex immunologic makeup of breast cancer and thus help develop  targeted treatment. Dr. Gibbs received this grant because the Circle of Giving contributed $125,000 to support the OHSU Knight Cancer Challenge. The Challenge is an unprecedented $1 billion effort to transform early detection and treatment of cancer and save countless lives. To date, more than $305 million has been raised of the $500 million needed to trigger an additional $500 million gift from Nike cofounder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny.

The Circle of Giving grant focuses exclusively on OHSU researchers who wish to launch new ideas and innovations in a broad range of women’s health issues. Applications are due annually in January.