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Collaborating For A Cure: NOCC MSAB Members Share Connection To The Cause And Current Research Initiatives.

By September 4, 2021June 1st, 2023No Comments

Since 1991, The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) has grown from a grassroots effort into a passionate community that drives awareness and research initiatives to better the lives of the ovarian cancer community. As we enter our 30th year, the NOCC has identified 24 highly respected gynecologic oncologists, researchers, and patient advocates to serve on the newly appointed Medical & Scientific Advisory Board (MSAB) for 2021 – 2024. These highly distinguished individuals will guide NOCC’s research investment and other activities and programs that fuel our mission to save lives through the prevention and cure of ovarian cancer and improve the quality of life for survivors and their caregivers.


We had the honor of connecting with some of our MSAB members to discuss their connection to our cause and their work to further ovarian cancer research. 

Why do you choose to work with NOCC? Why is our mission important to you?

Dr. Shannon Westin

NOCC is absolutely committed to improving outcomes and quality of life in women with ovarian cancer, and they are doing it the right way – through education and research funding! It is my honor and privilege to serve as a member of this impactful organization.

Dr. Linda Duska

Information and education are empowering to patients, especially patients with cancer, and this is why I work with NOCC. It is critical that experts in the field are part of that education and advocacy for our patients.


Dr. Michael Birrer

NOCC is the premier advocacy group focused on ovarian cancer. This is a sacred mission to me and one that I am honored to be a part of. This field needs more visibility, attention to the patients, and fundraising – all of which NOCC does.


Dr. Sarah Taylor

As a gynecologic oncologist, I feel passionately about caring for women with ovarian cancer.  This includes not only the day-to-day care of women living with ovarian cancer and those who are survivors but doing research to improve upon the care that we give and come up with novel ways to detect and prevent ovarian cancer.  The NOCC mission is to support and improve all aspects of care surrounding ovarian cancer, and it is an honor and privilege to work with such a dedicated organization whose goals and visions align with my own.


Dr. Bookman

We have learned so much about the biology and treatment of ovarian cancer. However, for many women, ovarian cancer remains a serious diagnosis with life-changing implications. Collaborating with a patient-centered organization such as NOCC provides a unique opportunity to support our patients, families, caregivers, and medical team when help is needed the most.


What are some of the research initiatives and/or programs that you are currently involved with?


Dr. Shannon Westin

I am honored to serve as the principal investigator for a number of trials that seek to improve treatment outcomes for women with ovarian cancer. My primary focus is novel agent development and to employ drug combinations to overcoming both innate and adaptive resistance to novel therapies.


Dr. Linda Duska

I am very grateful to have a busy and effective clinical research program at UVA. We have robust treatment offerings for patients with all types and stages of GYN cancer. I believe that every woman with cancer should have the opportunity to participate in a study if she wants to, and it is my job to provide all options for care. It is clinical research that allows us to offer new treatment options to patients and develop novel therapies for the future. I am hopeful that I can share my excitement about clinical research with patients and their caregivers.


Dr. Michael Birrer

Recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in gynecologic oncology, Birrer’s primary research interest is in characterizing the genomics of gynecologic cancers to improve the clinical management of these diseases. Birrer has approximately 400 publications, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and review articles.


Dr. Sarah Taylor

My research focuses both on novel therapies as well as screening for ovarian cancer. I am the national Principal Investigator (PI) of an NRG companion study (GY-022, UPCI 19-193), “Assessment of Carboplatin Clearance Predictors: A PK Study on NCI-sponsored Clinical Trials or Standard of Care Treatments Using Carboplatin,” that is looking to improve the way we give a very common chemotherapy to limit toxicity and improve response. I am also PI on phase II investigator-initiated trial funded through the ASCO Conquer Cancer Career Development Award, entitled “Phase IIA trial of delayed initiation of olaparib maintenance therapy in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer” that is seeking to refine the way we use PARP inhibitors in the treatment of ovarian cancer.  Lastly, I am co-PI on a DoD grant that is looking to develop a blood-based screening test for ovarian cancer looking at specific changes in cell-free DNA.


Dr. Bookman

I support the clinical research program for members of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, which includes over 2 million women.  We maintain a number of high-priority clinical trials in collaboration with NRG Oncology, GOG-Foundation, and the pharmaceutical industry. We also have a very detailed clinical database and try to learn from our experiences over time.

About Our MSAB Members

Dr. Shannon Westin

Associate Professor 

Director, Early Drug Development

Dept. of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center 

Dr. Linda Duska

Lawrence Penniston Family Endowed Professor of Women’s Oncology Research

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Associate Dean for Clinical Research, UVA School of Medicine

Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research

Dr. Michael Birrer

Vice-Chancellor UAMS

Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Director, Cancer Service Line

Dr. Sarah Taylor

Assistant Professor Gynecologic Oncology

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

University of Pittsburgh

Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

Dr. Bookman

Director, Gynecologic Oncology Therapeutics

Kaiser Permanente  Northern California

2238 Geary Blvd #2E303, San Francisco, CA 94115

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