David Mutch, MD
Kimberly Leslie, MD
University of New Mexico
Doris Benbrook, PhD
University of Oklahoma

The Route 66 Endometrial Cancer SPORE brings together interactive research teams from three institutions to create a dynamic translational research program aimed at developing and testing new strategies to prevent and treat endometrial cancer. This SPORE includes three research projects; an administrative core; a biostatistics and bioinformatics core; a biospecimens, metabolomics, and pathology core; and developmental research and career enhancement programs. The three projects, chosen and refined with extensive input from our internal and external advisory boards, are designed to have significant potential to change clinical practice within five years:

  • Project 1: HSPA Proteins in Advanced and Recurrent Endometrial Cancer Therapy
  • Project 2: Inhibiting AXL to Improve Treatment Response in Endometrial Cancer
  • Project 3: Improving Primary Prevention and Uterine Preservation in Premenopausal Women with Obesity and Endometrial Hyperplasia

All three projects include clinical trials and represent carefully chosen marriages between selected endometrial cancer research priorities and the strengths of Washington University in St. Louis and our collaborators at the University of New Mexico and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The overall aims are to:

  • Test promising new therapies to treat or prevent endometrial cancer;
  • Elucidate the key biologic processes that drive endometrial cancer and develop novel biomarkers to predict development of endometrial cancer and response to therapies;
  • Leverage and enhance capacities of shared research resources;
  • Recruit and mentor new investigators and support innovative ideas in translational endometrial cancer research;
  • Facilitate collaboration of those interested in endometrial cancer research; and
  • Ensure equitable enrollment in clinical trials and involvement of diverse community members and investigators in research.

In completing the work proposed, we will test new strategies to prevent or treat endometrial cancer. Future work can be directed at moving the most promising treatment approaches into larger trials. Additionally, we will obtain an unprecedented level of molecular, cellular, immunologic, and metabolomic detail regarding endometrial cancer and response to treatment, which will likely lead to development of additional novel clinical trials. Finally, by developing new ideas, investigators, and collaborations, we will expand the breadth and depth of research aimed at treating or preventing endometrial cancer.