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July 25, 2017 - Mobile researchers to test potential cancer drug in hens


MOBILE, Alabama (07/25/17) -- Mobile cancer researchers will soon begin testing a locally discovered compound in hens to determine whether it can prevent ovarian cancer.

A team headed by gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jennifer Scalici at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will partner with Auburn University to conduct the research, which is being funded by a recently awarded $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal of the GYN cancers because there is no screening test or early detection methods,” Scalici said. “Our only effective means of preventing disease is to remove ovaries in women as early as age 35. This has a profound impact on fertility decisions, and results in premature menopause. Our hope is to translate our findings into a clinical trial as a means of cancer prevention without having to take out ovaries in young women.”

The compound, named MCI-030, was discovered and developed by cancer researchers at MCI, an academic treatment and research facility that is part of the University of South Alabama.

Laying hens were chosen for testing because they suffer a high incidence of ovarian cancer, Scalici said. In collaboration with Auburn, researchers will add the compound to the hens’ food and document their cancer rates a year later.

The hope is that MCI-030 will inhibit an enzyme that is essential for ovarian tumor cell growth, said Research Assistant Professor Dr. Luciana Madeira da Silva. If so, researchers will move to further testing and drug development.

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, according to the American Cancer Society.

About USA Mitchell Cancer Institute: MCI is the only academic cancer research and treatment facility on the upper Gulf Coast corridor, with offices in Mobile, Fairhope and Monroeville.

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