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Patient Advocates Join Ovarian Cancer Research Team at Fox Chase Cancer Center

PHILADELPHIA (October 27, 2005) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer, hosted a workshop recently for ovarian cancer researchers and patient advocates. The overall goal of the workshop was to identify and develop the role of patient advocates in the SPORE.

Fox Chase is the only center in Pennsylvania and the first of only two facilities on the entire East Coast to receive a SPORE grant for ovarian cancer. NCI SPORE grants support innovative, multidisciplinary research approaches that potentially have an immediate impact on improving cancer care and prevention.

The SPORE grant funds Fox Chase research projects that focus on translating basic research findings from the laboratory to clinical settings. The goal of this "translational" research is to discover methods of earlier detection and improved prevention and treatments for this deadly disease.

The ovarian cancer workshop at Fox Chase was lead by Deborah Collyar, director of Patient Advocate Research Team (PART) Programs. Collyar assists institutions with SPORE grants in cultivating effective collaborations with cancer patient advocates to develop local PARTs.

April Donahue of Philadelphia is the first PART member at Fox Chase. "By holding the workshop, Fox Chase has truly shown its commitment to having patients involved in research from all aspects and they've taken their patient advocate program to the next level," said Donahue, who also serves on the board of directors for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. "The open dialog between researchers, doctors and advocates allowed us to brainstorm and develop plans to move our translational research forward. The atmosphere of the workshop was very relaxed and the advocates felt comfortable sharing their ideas to help the team of researchers."

"To have the face, thoughts and opinions of patients in front of the researchers can be nothing short of a win-win situation," said Karen Mason, an ovarian cancer survivor and a member of Fox Chase's PART program. "The Workshop was invaluable for showing me how we can all work together."

The Fox Chase researchers and the PART plan to meet quarterly.

"Patient advocates offer fresh ideas about research and recruitment, and voice patient concerns," said Robert F. Ozols, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the ovarian SPORE at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Karen Mason and April Donahue have been steadfast supporters of ovarian cancer research at Fox Chase for years and we're pleased to have an opportunity to capitalize on our relationship. Their contributions are extremely valuable."

The PART program is supported by a grant from Avon and the National Cancer Institute.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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