DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer Dream Team - Stand Up to Cancer
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Dream Teams

Research  >  Research Portfolio  >  Dream Teams  >  DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer Dream Team

SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance–National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Ovarian Cancer Dream Team: DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer

Grant Term: July 2015–June 2019

With a combined focus on treatment and prevention, the SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA)– National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Ovarian Cancer Dream Team concentrates on developing new therapies that target DNA repair. These potentially apply to a much larger group of women beyond those with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. By screening for inherited mutations in genes linked to DNA repair, the team works to identify women at high risk for ovarian cancer whose lives might be saved by preventive measures.


Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, when it is hard to treat and death rates are high. Cancers with certain types of DNA repair defects are responsive to targeted therapies, such as drugs called PARP inhibitors. These drugs help prevent cancer cells from repairing their own damaged DNA, thereby hastening the cancer cells’ death.

The SU2C–OCRFA–NOCC Ovarian Cancer Dream Team brings together internationally renowned experts to focus on developing new therapies that target DNA repair and expanding the use of PARP inhibitors to a much larger group of women. In addition, by screening for inherited mutations in genes linked to DNA repair, the team works to find ways to identify women at higher risk for ovarian cancer.

The team takes a three-pronged approach to its goals:

1. Identify ovarian cancers that are likely to respond to DNA repair therapies.
2. Evaluate, in three clinical trials, new drug combinations that may sensitize ovarian tumors to PARP inhibitors.
3. Develop web-based genetic testing and counseling strategies and test surgical prevention models.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–OCRFA–NOCC Ovarian Cancer Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–OCRFA–NOCC Ovarian Cancer Dream Team.

Team Members

Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Team Leader

Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD
University of Washington

Gini F. Fleming, MD
The University of Chicago
Principal Investigator

Maria Jasin, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Principal Investigator

Scott H. Kaufmann, MD, PhD
Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Principal Investigator

Karen H. Lu, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Principal Investigator

Jamie Crase
University of Washington

Kathleen Gavin
Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance

Deb Polinsky
SHARE Cancer Support

Alexandra Feinstein
Dana-Farber Cancer institute
Project Manager

Donald Watson
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Manager

“We now see defective DNA repair as a more general vulnerability of ovarian cancer. We hope to extend the use of PARP inhibitors to many other patients and find combinations with other drugs that will be effective against ovarian cancer.”

Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–OCRFA–NOCC Ovarian Cancer Dream Team.



A Phase I Clinical Trial of the Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitor Veliparib and Weekly Topotecan in Patients with Solid Tumors
Wahner Hendrickson AE, Swisher EM, Kaufmann SH, et al. (2018)
Clinical Cancer Research 24(4):744–52.
EZH2 Promotes Degradation of Stalled Replication Forks by Recruiting MUS81 Through Histone H3 Trimethylation
Rondinelli B, Gogola E, D’Andrea AD, et al. (2017)
Nature Cell Biology 19(11):1371-1378.


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At StandUpToCancer.org/ClinicalTrials, you’ll find information and answers to common questions about clinical trials. Learn more and talk to your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be the best choice for you.

You can also connect with EmergingMed, a free and confidential clinical trial matching service that provides access to a vast database to help you identify the clinical trials that might be right for you or your loved one.