Colleen’s Dream Foundation today announced its donation of $100,000 to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in support of clinical trials that could lead to better treatments for a rare type of ovarian cancer that mostly afflicts girls and young women.

The donation follows a successful series of fundraising events organized by Colleen’s Dream during September for National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Colleen’s Dream in February presented TGen with a grant of $30,000 to help fund ovarian cancer research.

“The support of Colleen’s Dream is helping TGen pursue new precision medicine treatments for ovarian cancer. This latest donation will now enable TGen to begin the process of helping patients through clinical trials based on our genomic-based biomedical analysis,” said Dr. Will Hendricks, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Integrated Cancer Genomics Division.

“This assistance is enabling us to build on the TGen-led international effort that resulted in our groundbreaking findings about the genetic cause of this particular type of ovarian cancer to make possible studies on how it might best be treated,” said Dr. Jessica Lang, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Hendricks’ Lab.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer and is projected to take the lives of 14,080 women in 2017. Of all women diagnosed, 25 percent will die in the first year. Colleen’s Dream is dedicated to funding research that leads to an early detection test for ovarian cancer.

TGen has discovered a mutation in a gene known as SMARCA4, which drives a specific type of extremely aggressive ovarian cancer known as Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT). This type of ovarian cancer usually is not diagnosed until it is in its advanced stages. It does not respond to standard chemotherapy, and 65 percent of patients die within 2 years. It has affected girls as young as 14 months, and women as old as 58 years, with a mean disease onset age of only 24 years old.
TGen research already has resulted in a simple new test to diagnose SCCOHT.

“We are encouraged by the remarkable progress being made against ovarian cancer by TGen research,” said Nicole Cundiff, CEO of Colleen’s Dream Foundation. “We believe our support will result in better treatments and better outcomes for women, and the fact that TGen is based in our backyard means Arizona patients will benefit first.”

Participants in September’s fundraising events organized by Colleen’s Dream include: Scottsdale Fashion Square and participating luxury retailers, Kaiyo Sushi + Bar, Talking Stick Resort, Silver & Sage, Hotel Valley Ho, Mountain Shadows Resort, Luminosa Beauty Bar, Amazing Lash Studio, Spa Lamar and The Sparkle Bar.

Colleen’s Dream was created in honor of Nicole’s mother, Colleen, who lost a five-year battle with ovarian cancer in 2013. Before her passing, Colleen served on the board of directors to the foundation, which has since granted more than $700,000 to ovarian cancer researchers.