Grants - Translational Grants - Minnesota - 2016

Jamie Bakkum-Gamez, M.D.

Uterine cancer is a cancer that grows in the lining of a woman’s uterus (womb). In the United States, uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female sex organs. Most often, women with this type of cancer have periods that are not normal or have bleeding after they have gone through menopause. By the time this bleeding starts, the cancer may have spread to other sites and organs. If it is caught at an early stage, it can be treated more easily and there is a higher chance of cancer cure. Right now there is not a screening test for this cancer. Our research project aims to design a simple screening test for uterine cancer.

Uterine cancer is caused by changes in the normal cells lining it. These changes can be found in the blood and fluid that passes into the vagina from the uterus. This fluid can be collected using a tampon. Better understanding changes in normal sex organ tissues and in different types of uterine cancer will help us identify the changes that truly represent the presence of a cancer. Our screening test will find the changes that identify cancer in fluid that can be collected using a tampon. We also expect that the cancer changes will be found even in women without bleeding that have an early cancer. The hope is that finding cancer early will lead to improved cancer outcomes.