Underwriting Gift from Local Philanthropist Funds Sixth Bridge Funding Award

Press Release · May 31, 2016

The Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer today announced the ovarian cancer researcher who will receive crucial interim support from the Rivkin Center for his unfunded ovarian cancer research proposal that earned outstanding scores from federal funding agencies. Severe federal budget reductions have left many critical outstanding proposals unfunded after a rigorous peer-review process. Rivkin Center support will come in the form of a philanthropically-funded Bridge Funding Award program that provides talented investigators with six months and $30,000 to produce the data needed to substantiate their proposal resubmission to federal funding agencies. With a generous underwriting gift from Ms. Lynda Gilman of Seattle, Washington, this Bridge Funding Award has been added as part of more than $1.1 million in ovarian cancer research funding offered by the Rivkin Center in 2016.

In 13 of the past 14 years, federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has either been cut (in part through mandated budget cuts known as sequestration) or has failed to outpace rising costs. As a result, the NIH budget remains more than 22% below 2003 levels. Consequently, an alarming number of researchers are forced to consider abandoning their careers, leaving precious scientific innovation at a standstill.

“In the past these projects would have been easily funded, but in the current environment even excellent proposals are getting rejected,” said Rivkin Center Founder and Chairman, Saul Rivkin, MD. “We are so grateful for the leadership of Ms. Lynda Gilman in allowing us to announce the 2016 Lynda’s Fund Bridge Award to keep this research going and make a potentially significant future impact on the way that we understand and treat this deadly disease.”

The Rivkin Center announced that the 2016 Lynda’s Fund Bridge Award will be given to:

Manish Patankar, PhD of the University of Wisconsin for his study “Identifying ovarian cancer biomarkers through lineage specific assessment of immune cell transriptome.” Dr. Patankar’s study is focused on identifying an accurate new early detection method for high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) by focusing on the white blood cells as a potential location for biomarkers of this disease.

“It is a privilege to fund, with Lynda’s help, the continued work of Dr. Patankar, to hopefully increase the scientific understanding of high grade serous ovarian cancer, the most common and deadly form of ovarian cancer,” said Rivkin Center Executive Director, Joe White. “This award will allow Dr. Patankar time to respond to the federal agencies’ questions on his initial proposal and re-submit for federal funding in early 2017 … hopefully launching long-term studies in this important area of medical research that otherwise may not have continued.”

“This is an incredibly important and hopeful study,” said donor Lynda Gilman. “I’m so honored to be a part of helping to bring it to fruition. I have lost too many friends and family members to ovarian cancer. The possibility of early detection and earlier treatment would be an amazing and lifesaving breakthrough.”

A total of two grants – one in June and one in December – are scheduled to be awarded in 2016. This is the third year that these awards have been made, following a generous underwriting gift from Rivkin Center donor Margaret Sherman to establish the program in 2014. For more information on the awarded study, and to learn more about the Rivkin Center’s Bridge Funding Award program visit the Bridge Funding page.