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Geneticist Receives First Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Research

March 22, 2010 – Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center geneticist Paul Goodfellow, PhD, has been selected as the first recipient of the $50,000 Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF)/Claudia Cohen Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Researcher. The prize was presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists in San Francisco last week.

Goodfellow, professor of surgery, of genetics and of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University, has made important contributions to the improvement of women’s health care through his laboratory efforts and his role in mentoring gynecologic oncologists in basic science and translational research. Much of his work focuses on the genetic and epigenetic events that are associated with the initiation and progression of endometrial cancer.

Along with collaborator David Mutch, MD, professor of gynecologic oncology at Washington University, Goodfellow has elucidated both the causes and consequences of defective DNA mismatch repair in endometrial cancer. Their discoveries have significantly advanced knowledge about the most common gynecologic cancer. Their research team recently received a prestigious Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the causes of endometrial cancer and develop new strategies for preventing the disease as well as new treatment approaches.

Each year, more than 40,000 women are diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and more than 7,700 die from the disease.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by for my contributions to research in gynecologic oncology,” Goodfellow says. “It is particularly gratifying for me to know that this award acknowledges the importance of both laboratory science and contributions to creating a culture of research excellence in gynecologic oncology. It is fitting that the first Claudia Cohen Prize be for work in uterine cancer. Research funding for uterine cancer has lagged behind the funding for other gynecologic cancers. I am hopeful this award will send a clear message about the importance of investing in uterine cancer research.”

The prize is funded by the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation (CCRF) in honor of Claudia Cohen, who lost her battle with uterine leiomyosarcoma in 2007. Cohen was a highly respected journalist and philanthropist. The CCRF was founded by Cohen’s daughter Samantha and her sisters Caleigh and Debra Perelman to foster research aimed at reducing the burden of gynecologic cancer.

The GCF/Claudia Cohen Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Researcher is one of three prizes and eight ovarian cancer grants announced by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting this year. Since announcing its first grant in 1995, GCF has awarded 76 research grants totaling more than $4 million.