Our research has resulted in more effective treatment patterns and cure rates that are higher than the national averages.
Since 1985, the physicians from the WCRF have been pioneers in clinical research to improve cure rates for women with ovarian, uterine, endometrial, cervical and other gynecological cancers. The WCRF is one of the most productive, efficient and innovative clinical research groups in the U.S. and the world. WCRF designs, conducts and publishes research on leading-edge medical advances.
WCRF is not only conducting and publishing original research, we are a clearinghouse for information about the latest advancements in treating gynecological cancers for physicians and patients.
- Our approach results in publishing 12 to 15 research papers per year in prestigious journals such as Gynecologic Oncology, International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer and Obstetrics and Gynecology. View Publications List [pdf].
- WCRF has developed collaborative research relationships with prominent pharmaceutical and biotech companies including Merck, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Genentech-Roche, Pfizer, Endocyte, Centocor Ortho Biotech, Nektar Therapeutics, Abbott Laboratories, and Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc..
Expert Doctors, Dedicated Research Staff.
Lisa N. Abaid, M.D.
Fikret Atamdede, M.D.
Tiffany L. Beck, M.D.
John V. Brown, M.D.
Alberto A. Mendivil, M.D.
John P. Micha, M.D.
Ramin Mirhashemi, M.D.
Kristina M. Mori, M.D.
Eijean Wu, M.D.
Bram Goldstein, Ph.D.
Katrina Lopez, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator
Leila Villanueva, M.A.
Project Design and Outreach
John P. Micha, M.D.
Gloria Alkire, Ed.D.
Board of Directors
Norman Crawford, D.D.S.
John West, M.D.
Legal Consult (pro bono; thank you!)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Elliott, Lewis, Lieber & Stumpf
UBS Financial Services
Joseph Schirripa, VP
The best way to donate to cancer research is to:
- Donate directly to the organization that actually does the research.
- Stipulate in your donation that your funds must go to the research you want to support.
- Stipulate the percentage of overhead you are willing to pay.
- Stipulate whether you want funds to go to research, or if it is acceptable to go to building construction. Cancer centers and hospitals love to build buildings as their "research project." This is generally a misuse of research funds in our opinion.
- Stipulate that if the funds are not used as you directed, they are to be returned to you.
- Track the peer publications rate of the research group you donate to.Publications are the metric for tracking a research group's productivity.
WCRF is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation. Our physicians have been involved in research dating back to 1971. In 1999 the foundation was incorporated as a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation so that our patients, families, and other donors could support our research effort. Donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support.
TAX ID #: 33-0865870
Major Donors and Research Sponsors
- Merck, Inc.
- Gynecologic Oncology Associates
- John Micha, MD
- Carl Wynn Foundation
- S.L. Gimbel Foundation
- The Big Kahuna Bike Ride
- Burton Construction, Inc.
- Vitalogy Foundation - Pearl Jam
- The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band
- Oso Home Care
- St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Center
- Hoag Hospital Cancer Center
- John & Hilda Arnold Foundation
- Judy Burton Swing for the Cure
- Helsinn Oncology
- Orange County Community Foundation
- The Revlon Foundation
- Walter and Maureen Snell Endowed Fund
- Ebell Club of Canyon Hills
- Earth Friendly Products
- Angels on the Frontline
- Heron Therapeutics
- AIVITA Biomedical
- Genentech, Inc.
- Jameson Foundation
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Smith Kline Beecham
- Eli Lilly
- Ortho Biotech
- Atairgin Technologies, Inc.
- Cell Therapeutics
The Advent of PARP Inhibitors
Poly ADP-ribose polymerases inhibitors, or PARP inhibitors, are an exciting new class of drugs that have attracted considerable attention in the realm of anti-cancer therapy. PARP enzymes, which are activated by DNA (molecules that carry the genetic instructions used in the functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms) damage, are essential to repairing DNA impairment and promoting cancer cell survival . Consequently, therapies that inhibit or block these PARP enzymes should circumvent this process.
Recently, several clinical studies have evaluated the efficacy of PARP inhibitors (e.g., niraparib (zejulaTM), olaparib (lynparzaTM) and rucaparib (rubracaTM)) in the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. Many of the trials demonstrated profound anti-tumor activity, especially in subjects who harbor a BRCA1/2 germline mutation (identified in 10-15% of patients) . The BRCA mutation is associated with a greater difficulty in repairing DNA, further predisposing the cancer cells to the effects of PARP inhibitor therapy.
Currently, niraparib has conferred a significant clinical benefit, irrespective of BRCA mutation status; thus the medication can be offered to a more extensive range of ovarian cancer patients . Similarly, rucaparib and olaparib are being evaluated for their effectiveness in both BRCA and non-BRCA mutation patients.
PARP inhibitors are generally, well tolerated, with attendant side effects that may include nausea, fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms . Additionally, studies have reported on the effectiveness of PARP inhibition in combination with other chemotherapies, although the safety and tolerability of these regimens require further evaluation.
-  Sehouli J, Braicu EI, Chekerov R.PARP Inhibitors for Recurrent Ovarian Carcinoma: Current Treatment Options and Future Perspectives. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 2016; 76: 164–169.
-  Bolton KL, Chenevix-Trench G, Goh C. Association Between BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations and Survival in Women with Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. JAMA 2012; 307: 382–390.
-  Mirza MR, Monk BJ, Herrstedt J, et al: Niraparib maintenance therapy in platinum-sensitive, recurrent ovarian cancer. N Engl J Med 375:2154-2164, 2016.
-  Brown JS, Kaye SB, Yap TA. , PARP inhibitors: the race is on. Br J Cancer 2016; 114: 713–715.
The Development of the Pap Smear
The Papanicolaou test (abbreviated as Pap test, Pap smear, cervical smear, or smear test) was developed By Dr. George Papanicolaou in the 1940’s at Cornell New York Hospital in New York City. Dr. Papanicolaou worked in the Hospital’s women’s center, caring for indigent patients.
Seventy years later, Dr. Micha attended Cornell Medical School and completed his OB/GYN residency there, and became a full time faculty member at the same clinic as Dr. Papanicolaou.
Dr. Papanicolaou began collecting vaginal swabs from patients in order to study the maternal hormonal cycle effects on menstruation. Dr. Papanicolaou smeared the cotton tipped swabs on to slides and then examined them; he noticed that some patients had unusual cells on these slides and eventually discovered that they had precancerous and cancerous conditions of the cervix. The patients then underwent further evaluation and treatment to cure them of their precancerous conditions and cervical cancers.
The Pap test became an international standard of care for women in the detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix. Currently, millions of Pap tests have been conducted and the mortality rate from cervical cancer has been greatly reduced.
Dr. Micha notes that nearly 50% of successful treatment are identified "accidentally". Researchers are working on many studies and periodically, they fortuitously make an unexpected discovery. For example, the inventor of the microwave oven was studying microwaves for scientific usage and inadvertently noticed that his coffee cup warmed up when it was adjacent to his experiment. He followed up on this and eventually invented the modern microwave oven.
The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation is focused on logical, scientific cancer treatment development. However, our researchers are always considering the value of unanticipated or secondary benefits associated with old and novel therapies with the intent to improve patient cure rates.
Ovarian Cancer and Germline BRCA 1/2 Testing
Ovarian cancer is a very aggressive gynecologic malignancy. The disease is the 8th most common cancer among women and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women. The lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is approximately 1.39% but the incidence of this cancer increases in women who harbor a BRCA 1 or 2 germline mutation by 40-60% and 11-27%, respectively.1 Genetic testing has been accessible for about 15 years and has been progressively utilized in clinical practice for patients with a BRCA 1/2 germline mutation, and for women with a significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, dissimilar to breast cancer surveillance, screening for ovarian cancer has been fairly ineffectual. If we can, however, determine the potential effect of BRCA germline mutation on first degree relatives, this may lead to significant discussion of cancer prevention strategies or the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. As the interest in BRCA germline mutations continues to inspire provocative and clinically meaningful research, we are optimistic that this will further highlight the necessity for developing and adopting standard testing guidelines that may enhance ovarian cancer detection and ultimately, improve patient cure rates. If you have any further questions about BRCA testing and ovarian cancer, please contact the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation at (949) 642-5165. We are located at 351 Hospital Road, Suite #506, in Newport Beach, CA.
1. Printz C. BRCA 1/2-negative patients who receive counseling after genetic testing have lower anxiety. Cancer 2016;122:1149.
351 Hospital Road, Suite 506
Newport Beach, CA 92663