Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) October 20, 2013
In its ongoing effort to support ovarian cancer research, Colleen’s Dream Foundation has gifted $10,000 to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for cutting edge ovarian cancer research according to Colleen’s Dream Foundation President Billy Cundiff.
"MD Anderson is at the forefront of cancer research and attracts some of the top talent in the world," says Cundiff. "Partnering with them will allow us to support research that will make an impact on the ovarian cancer landscape."
According to Cundiff, the $10,000 gift will help support research being done by Dr. Zacharias Millward, Ph.D. assistant professor of Cancer Systems Imaging at MD Anderson.
For the past 10 years, Zacharias Millward has been focused on working at the interface of chemistry and biology. Specifically, she’s been interested in how chemistry can be used to study biological systems and solve problems in medicine.
"We are excited to support Dr. Zacharias Millward's cutting edge research," says Cundiff. "Early detection is important to us at Colleen's Dream Foundation and Dr. Zacharias Millward's research is in line with our mission. It is exactly the kind of research Colleen’s Dream Foundation is looking to fund."
Cundiff says the $10,000 will help Zacharias Millward in her research, which utilizes hyperpolarized metabolic imaging agents.
"It's an interesting field of study with great promise," he says.
When asked what "caused" her to become interested in research to find an early detection method for ovarian cancer, her answer was quite simple.
"There’s no reliable early detection method for ovarian cancer," says Zacharias Millward. "Due to lack of symptoms at the early stage, more than two thirds of all diagnosed cases occur after the disease has progressed to stage III."
Statistics show when a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in stage l or ll, her chance of survival is around 90%. When diagnosed in stage lll or lV, there is a less than 50% chance of survival for more than five years.
Zacharias Millward says these statistics underscore the pressing need to develop ways to detect and treat ovarian cancer. She also says it is personal.
"As one who had to watch a family member be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at stage IV, I realize the need for a reliable early diagnostic marker for ovarian cancer," she says.
Zacharias Millward hopes her research will help change these statistics.
"I hope my research, in collaboration with oncologists, will lead to early diagnosis and better treatment options for ovarian cancer patients," says Zacharias Millward. "Because cancer is a heterogeneous disease and can mutate after treatment, and become resistant to drugs over time, it’s hard to determine when ovarian cancer will be a thing of the past. MD Anderson is an excellent place to make an impact in the treatment, diagnosis and outcome of patients with ovarian cancer. The scientific and clinical advances being made at MD Anderson will dramatically improve the prognosis for women with ovarian cancer in the next ten years."
About Niki M. Zacharias Millward, Ph.D. assistant professor, Cancer Systems Imaging:
For the past 10 years, Dr. Zacharias Millward has been focused on how chemistry can be used to study biological systems and solve problems in medicine. In March 2012, she came to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as an assistant professor of Cancer Systems Imaging.
Prior to joining MD Anderson, she worked both in industry and academia. She was the James G. Boswell Fellow at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Huntington Medical Research Institutes and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California. Earlier in her career, she was the primary chemist at a biotech company in Pasadena, Calif. that focused on small molecule development for neurological disorders. In 2003, she received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech.
Dr. Zacharias Millward was born in Houston and grew up in the nearby town of Alvin. She met her husband at Caltech, where he received a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Dr. Zacharias Millward and her husband, who also is an assistant professor at MD Anderson, have two children, Alexander and Arianna Zoe.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. MD Anderson is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute.
For 10 of the past 12 years, including 2013, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).
Colleen’s Dream Foundation started in 2012 and supports research for early detection and improved treatment for ovarian cancer.
The story of Colleen’s Dream started in 2007 when Billy Cundiff’s mother-in-law, Colleen Drury, was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. It was only then that Colleen and her family realized a new world that was filled with invasive surgery, harsh chemotherapy, and lots of uncertainty.