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New Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act Introduced

Funding, Research and National Trials Crucial in the Fight Against Women's


WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2007 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, Sept. 27 and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO), the leader of four organizations integral in drafting this legislation, is issuing a "call to action" for ovarian cancer survivors, their families, and their physicians.

Introduced by Congressmen Howard L. Berman (D-CA) and Ralph M. Hall (D-TX), the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act would authorize the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to make grants to public or non-profit entities for the establishment of research centers focused on ovarian cancer biomarkers. Biomarkers are the biochemical features within the body that can be used to determine the presence and population of cancerous cells, predict response to therapy, and determine ultimate prognosis. Additionally, the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act will also establish a national clinical trial to determine the clinical utility of ovarian cancer biomarkers in diagnosing or preventing ovarian cancer in at-risk women.

SGO, which is the professional organization for gynecologic oncologists, specialists in women's cancers, collaborated with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to spearhead the development of the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act in order to secure dedicated support for ovarian cancer biomarkers research. Currently, a widely accepted or effective screening test for ovarian cancer is not available -- making the disease difficult to diagnose.

"Early diagnosis is critical," said Beth Karlan, MD, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and an expert in the field of gynecologic oncology, ovarian cancer surgery, and inherited cancer susceptibility. "Women have just recently been made aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, but many of these symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases. Development of an effective biomarker screening test is imperative to saving the lives of women with ovarian cancer."

"What we need now is wide-spread action," adds Carol Brown, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and SGO's Government Relations Committee Chair. "The bill has been introduced, but it hasn't been passed yet. We are so appreciative that the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act has come this far, and we are grateful for the help and support we have received from Congressmen Berman and Hall, but we need to make sure that that this bill is passed. We need every woman, every family, every physician to contact their Congressmen and express their support for the Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Research Act. It is quite literally -- and quite unfortunately -- a matter of life and death."

Adds Lindy Graham, an ovarian cancer survivor and advocate, "We absolutely need to pass this bill so our daughters, sisters, mothers, friends and neighborhood of women will finally be able to obtain early ovarian cancer detection that will ultimately save lives. No more sneak attacks from this disease!"

About SGO

The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) is a national medical specialty society for physicians trained in the comprehensive management of women's cancers. The Society's membership is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists -- obstetrician/gynecologists who undertake an additional 3-4 years of intensive training in the specific study of gynecologic cancers. SGO members provide medical and surgical care to women with ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, vulvar cancer, and vaginal cancer. They are trained to in chemotherapy and radiation therapy administration, supportive care, and surgery in order to provide comprehensive care to their patients. More information on gynecologic oncology, the SGO, and its members can be found at

Contact: Jessica Schackmuth

Cell: (312) 235-4060

SOURCE Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
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