Aid for Cancer Research (ACR), a volunteer organization of 24 women from the Greater Boston area, has been providing cancer researchers with laboratory equipment, research funding, and fellowship support for 60 years. Picking up where government assistance for cancer studies falls short, the group is well known for its ability to respond quickly to urgent needs. Nowhere is the need more pressing than in ovarian cancer research.
“Very little progress has been made in the understanding and treatment of ovarian cancer,” said ACR representative Elisa Silverman. “We’d like to see that change.”
To help make this happen, Silverman and her fellow volunteers recently made a significant gift to Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) by funding a next- generation DNA sequencer. The instrument will allow John Quackenbush, PhD, of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Dana- Farber, and his DF/HCC colleagues to conduct a comprehensive search for genetic mutations involved in ovarian cancer development, progression, and drug resistance. The equipment will also be available to scientists throughout the DF/HCC community, which includes Dana-Farber and six other Harvard-affiliated institutions.
“The fact that this DNA sequencer would be used by the consortium was very appealing,” said Silverman. “It opens it up to so many researchers.”
Quackenbush is equally excited to see the value of the gift extend beyond his own projects.
“Not only will this gift make a huge difference in helping us understand the molecular basis of chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer,” he said, “but it will also help forge collaborative bonds across DF/HCC.”