Expansions in women's health research
National designation advances gynecologic oncology research
Three years ago, the Aurora Women's Pavilion joined the Gynecologic Oncology Group, a part of the National Cancer Institute, as an affiliate site to promote gynecological research. This February, the Pavilion advanced to the level of parent site, the only one in the state besides the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A parent site expands research opportunities, encourages increased participation by physicians and provides more opportunities for patients to be involved in clinical research. Parent site status allows access to treatments at an earlier phase of development, which would not be available to affiliates. Peter Johnson, M.D., is the principal investigator with the parent site. Since February, 23 patients have been enrolled in various research studies, in three main areas: ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers.
Understanding tumor cells' pathways may limit treatments
Judy Tjoe, M.D., is collaborating with the University of California-San Francisco on a project that continues to make significant progress in understanding the pathways of tumor stem cell development in the production of breast tumors. A recent publication on this research has defined the importance of certain cell markers in identifying women with breast cancer in their milk ducts who have a higher risk of relapse, recurrence or progression to invasive disease. This identification is important in preventing unnecessary or overly aggressive treatments in the non-high-risk group. If this can be substantiated in larger groups or by different technologies, numerous women can be spared unnecessary treatments.