Trees of Hope: MOCA and the search for an early detection test

Updated: December 01, 2020 07:39 AM
Created: November 25, 2020 03:25 PM

It all began with her mother. "I became interested 35 years ago, when my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer," shared Amy Skubitz, professor and director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program. 

Thankfully, Catherine Norden lived a long and lovely life. Still, Skubitz knows that's not the case for all the women who deal with a diagnosis.

"I think it's important for everyone to know that everybody in the research community is really trying to find a way to detect early stages of ovarian cancer," she said.

She and her team at the University of Minnesota are concentrating on a set of 30 proteins found in the Pap smears of women with ovarian cancer. The goal is to see if those proteins could be the indicator.

"It's really developing this new test. And if turns out to work, then we can try a clinical trial," she said. 

Long term, she'd like to see an at-home testing kit.

MOCA has awarded Skubitz over $1 million dollars over the past two decades. And two weeks ago, she received another $100,000 from them to continue her work.  "We are so grateful for their support. Everybody is really important, to spread the word about ovarian cancer, and educate doctors and nurses and women."

For more resources, head to MOCA's website:

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