Development of a blood test for the early detection of ovarian cancer

Leadership of U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, support from The Lynne Cohen Foundation, Row for a Cure and Totino Research Fund bring cutting edge research to Long Island.

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Research Institute, a disease-oriented biomedical research institution, and Correlogic Systems, Inc., a Bethesda, MD-based clinical proteomics company that has pioneered the development and application of pattern recognition in disease detection, today announced a collaboration to advance the final development of a blood test for the early detection of ovarian cancer.

This first test using Correlogic’s hidden patterns approach and technology is currently undergoing extensive validation. The test has received worldwide attention because of its novel approach to disease detection and the critical need for an early detection test for ovarian cancer, which kills more than 16,000 women each year.

Under this initiative, researchers expect to collect blood samples from several hundred women over the next two years. Samples will be analyzed immediately to expand validation of the blood test, and in subsequent months to provide additional information that may help extend clinical use of the test.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System, the parent of the North Shore-LIJ Research Institute, treats more than 11,000 women annually for gynecologic conditions in its hospitals, and countless thousands more in its doctors’ private offices, with almost 200 new patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. With its extensive access to this population of patients, North Shore-LIJ will invite all women undergoing specific gynecologic surgery, women at high risk who are not undergoing surgery, and women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer to participate in this research effort by providing blood samples for scientific evaluation. As lead investigator of this project, John Lovecchio, MD, chief of gynecologic oncology for the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is playing a pivotal role.

“Upon validation, this blood test can dramatically change the lives of women at high risk for ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Lovecchio. “When caught very early, the survival rate can be as high as 90 percent. Unfortunately, most of these cancers are caught only after the disease has progressed to the later stages, when the survival rate is only about 25 percent.”

This collaboration was brought about through the leadership of U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, of Huntington, co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus and a champion of cancer research. Congressman Israel introduced a Congressional resolution promoting research on this technology and calling for federal and private insurance coverage of ovarian cancer tests based on the technology. The resolution was approved in the House in July 2002.

“I'm pleased to have played an instrumental role in forming this partnership,” noted Rep. Israel. “After final validation, these new technologies could diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stages, when survival rates are dramatically higher than in later stages. It is only fitting that this research is conducted on Long Island, where we have extremely talented researchers and state-of-the-art facilities. I am confident that through this partnership, we will save women’s lives.”

North Shore-LIJ’s participation in this collaboration is financed through the support of The Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research, Row for a Cure and the Sonia L. Totino Gynecologic Cancer Research Fund, whose combined contributions total more than $200,000. These organizations are dedicated to supporting research and raising awareness of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers, with a goal of increasing survival and improving the quality of life of women affected by them.

“Our goal is to change the outcome of ovarian cancer for thousands of women diagnosed with this disease each year,” said Peter Levine, president of Correlogic Systems, Inc. “The collaboration with the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, with its powerful reach and expertise, will contribute importantly to that goal.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and based on data from 2000, the age-adjusted incidence of ovarian cancer nationally is 15.8 per 100,000 women. According to New York State Cancer Registry data from the years 1996 through 2000, the incidence is 18.3 per 100,000 in Suffolk County and 20 in Nassau County. Long Island is home to a larger-than-average proportion of Ashkenazi Jewish women, who may be at higher risk for certain cancers, including ovarian cancer.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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