$500,000 given for genome-based test for cancer

An anonymous donor has given $500,000 to conduct large-scale clinical trials and laboratory research on the PapGene test, a genomic-based screening test that detects ovarian and endometrial cancers in cervical fluid.

Developed by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and first reported Jan. 9, 2013, in Science Translational Medicine, the experimental test uses cervical fluid to detect cancer-specific mutations that lead to ovarian and endometrial cancers. While the Papanicolaou (Pap) test is widely and successfully used to screen for cervical cancers, no such test is available for ovarian or endometrial cancers.

Lead investigator Luis Diaz, an associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins, notes that the test has the potential to pioneer genomic-based cancer screening tests but that larger studies are needed before it can be adopted for wide-scale use. Diaz says that the gift will be used to conduct clinical trials and additional laboratory tests on PapGene.

"Our benefactor's incredible generosity will have significant impact for decades to come. We are excited about developing this phase of the research, and it's an excellent example of how philanthropic dollars can be leveraged, which is essential in this difficult fiscal environment," Diaz says. "With this support, we are able to move this research from the laboratory to clinical trials more quickly."

Funding for the initial research was provided by Swim Across America.