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UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Receives Grant from Mary Kay Foundation

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PITTSBURGH UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is among 12 top cancer research institutions in the United States to receive a $100,000 grant from The Mary Kay Foundation, which awards grants annually to institutions conducting innovative research to better understand cancers that affect women. 


This is the first time UPMC Hillman has received a grant from The Mary Kay Foundation. The money will support efforts to develop an innovative ovarian cancer treatment that stalls the disease by blocking specific cellular interactions that promote the growth and metastasis of cancer cells. 


Lan Coffman releaseThe study will be led by Lan Coffman, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine, and a member of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  Coffman’s overall research focuses on the ovarian cancer microenvironment, understanding and targeting the cancer-supporting stromal tissues which are critical to the survival, growth and spread of ovarian cancer. 


“We’re honored to receive this grant, which underscores the importance of expanding treatment options for women with ovarian cancer, the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers,” said Coffman. “With help from the Mary Kay Foundation, we will be able to define the potential to stop the spread of ovarian cancer by manipulating the ecosystem in ways that limit cancer cell growth.”


One in three women is diagnosed with cancer in her lifetime, and this year alone, more than 800,000 women are expected to be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. With cancer being the second-leading cause of death in women, The Mary Kay Foundation has made it a priority to support research of cancers affecting women.  Since 1996, the foundation has awarded more than $28 million in grants to universities and medical centers around the country.


“We have seen previous grants lead to innovative breakthroughs in the study of breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers and are so thrilled with this year’s recipients,” said Michael Lunceford, president of The Mary Kay Foundation Board of Directors. “The foundation’s commitment to cancer research is anchored by our founder’s legacy and carried on by the passion and support of our company and independent sales force to someday find a cure.” 




Caption: Lan Coffman, M.D., Ph.D.

Credit: University of Pittsburgh