Ovarian Cancer SPORE Grant Core Resources

The Mayo Clinic SPORE grant in ovarian cancer is comprised of four research projects and three scientific cores that are designed to consolidate and facilitate the expertise required for effective ovarian cancer research. These projects and cores are overseen by a fourth core, the Administration Core.

The four cores in the Ovarian Cancer SPORE are:

Core 1. Administration
Core 2. Biospecimens and Patient Registry
Core 3. Biostatistics
Core 4. Animal Models

Core 1: Administration Core

Director: Scott H. Kaufmann, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director: Lynn C. Hartmann, M.D.

The Administration Core is the central core of the Mayo Clinic SPORE in ovarian cancer. It provides organizational support for the leadership of the Ovarian Cancer SPORE, facilitates communication among the component activities of the SPORE, and provides an organizational portal for collaborations outside the SPORE.

Specifically, the Administration Core:

  • Provides leadership, organizational support and financial management for SPORE investigators
  • Oversees formal procedures for systematic scientific review of SPORE research projects
  • Oversees and coordinates the efforts of all cores to ensure that the research projects are supported effectively
  • Monitors accrual, including minority accrual, to all SPORE clinical trials and biospecimen collections
  • Provides administrative support to the SPORE's Career Development Program and Developmental Research Program
  • Ensures ongoing integration and participation of the Ovarian Cancer SPORE in the activities of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Facilitates activities of SPORE advocates
  • Serves as the administrative liaison between the Ovarian Cancer SPORE and the NCI SPORE program, other Mayo Clinic SPOREs and external collaborators.
  • Communicates SPORE-related research developments among the Mayo Clinic SPORE investigators, to the scientific community at large and to the public.

Core 2: Biospecimens and Patient Registry Core

Director: Daniel W. Visscher, M.D.
Co-Director: Gary L. Keeney, M.D.

The goal of the Biospecimens and Patient Registry Core is to provide investigators in the Ovarian Cancer SPORE with high-quality patient data, DNA, RNA, blood products, and cancer tissue samples from patients with ovarian cancer or primary peritoneal carcinoma who have given their consent, and to make these resources available for future studies.

The activities of the Biospecimens Core are conducted in a way that does not compromise patient confidentiality, yet are as comprehensive as possible in the materials and data that are provided. The acquisition of human tissue, cellular and molecular analyses of that tissue, coupled with patient data, and maintaining strict confidentiality are key to many laboratory-based studies of cancer.

Mayo Clinic has a strong tradition of ethically sound support of research that links tissue acquisition and patient data records. Paraffin-embedded tissues, histologic slides and associated patient charts from surgeries that have been performed since the early 1900s are maintained in Mayo Clinic's Tissue Registry and in the Mayo Clinic Archives.

Today, the Pathology Research Core of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is a resource of expertise, collaborative support and service for immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, tissue microarray construction and digital imaging.

Core 3: Biostatistics Core

Director: Ann L. Oberg, Ph.D.

The Biostatistics Core provides statistical collaboration and data management support for each of the four Ovarian Cancer SPORE research projects, the Career Development Program, the Developmental Research Program and the other three cores in the Ovarian Cancer SPORE. It provides data management for each of the four SPORE research projects and performs adverse event monitoring for the clinical trials. The Biostatistics Core also completes data summaries for manuscript preparation.

The Biostatistics Core has been very active in preparing the statistical plans for each of the four projects in the Ovarian Cancer SPORE. Each of the projects reflects input from members of the Biostatistics Core on study design and analysis plans. These projects require a wide range of approaches and analyses.

The Biostatistics Core builds on the innovative and time-tested procedures and systems developed by Mayo Clinic statisticians, one of the largest statistical groups in the country, whose members have collaborated on more than 13,000 clinical and basic science research studies since 1966.

The Biostatistics Core provides statistical support across many different fields, including molecular epidemiologic studies, basic science with translational, immunological and correlative studies, gene microarray, clinical trials, gene and mutation discovery, and information management.

The comprehensive nature of the Biostatistics Core ensures that each Ovarian Cancer SPORE investigator has access to statistical expertise that includes collaborative development of study designs and analysis plans, state-of-the-art data analysis and interpretation, data management resources, and abstract and manuscript preparation.

The Biostatistics Core also provides a mechanism for the management and integration of both existing and newly collected data through consistent and compatible data handling. Areas of support include database development, data form development and processing, data collection and entry, data archiving, quality control, and management of information relating to the Ovarian Cancer SPORE projects and cores.

The Biostatistics Core complements and assists the efforts of the Animal Models Core and the Biospecimens and Patient Registry Core by providing superior data management and experience with tissue registries.

The strengths of the Biostatistics Core are collaboration with each of the SPORE projects and cores, the knowledge of and ability to utilize established research databases, the operational and statistical infrastructure already in place at Mayo Clinic, and the breadth of expertise provided by Biostatistics Core personnel.

Core 4: Animal Models Core

Director: Paul Haluska, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director: Kah Whye Peng, Ph.D.

Projects in the Ovarian Cancer SPORE rely heavily on the Animal Models Core for the evaluation of novel interventions (imaging and therapeutics) and for refining experimental approaches and delivery regimens in mice with ovarian cancer. To ensure that all the animal experiments can be performed in an expert and efficient manner and that Ovarian Cancer SPORE investigators use standardized models for their various therapeutic strategies, the Animal Models Core serves as a central resource. And in collaboration with the laboratory personnel from each project, it performs all the animal experimentation in these projects.

Specifically, the Animal Models Core:

  • Ensures the efficient planning, purchase and utilization of experimental mice
  • Provides the necessary facilities and animal handling expertise for the project
  • Provides xenograft and immunocompetent mouse models for testing of novel agents and therapeutic strategies
  • Provides veterinary expertise and access to noninvasive imaging strategies to monitor tumor burden

The Animal Models Core ensures:

  • Consistency in animal modeling. Modeling through this core will maintain consistency in methods and outcomes, making it easier to reproduce our findings and easier to combine approaches from other labs.
  • Access to animal modeling expertise. While all project teams have had experience with animal models, some have less than others. By providing a core, we can ensure that all Ovarian Cancer SPORE members have access to the highest level of skill available.
  • Optimal interaction across projects. The Animal Models Core brings together investigators from each Ovarian Cancer SPORE project, providing an outstanding avenue for creating new collaborations and for strengthening existing collaborations.
  • Efficiency in animal use and care. The core ensures that there is an organized approach to animal use, minimizing waste and the numbers of animals used and eliminating redundancy in personnel.