The moon shot for breast and ovarian cancer focuses on two rare diseases: triple-negative breast cancer and high-grade serous ovarian cancer. There are several new and exciting projects underway that can quickly make a difference in the detection and treatment of these deadly cancers.

MD Anderson has treated a large number of patients diagnosed with these cancers, providing our clinicians and investigators with unprecedented amounts of data that will not only help discover better treatments, but also provide the basis for therapies to treat other types of breast and ovarian cancers. Knowledge gained by studying these two cancers will likely also benefit patients with other cancers.


Since its announcement in September 2012, the Moon Shots Program has been a catalyst, expediting efforts that are already underway to address new treatments to improve patient survival, reduce complications, and enhance survivorship and quality of life.
Current Breast and Ovarian Cancer Moon Shot projects include:

  • Universal genetic testing: all patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer and high-grade serous ovarian cancer at MD Anderson and its Regional Care Centers are now being offered genetic testing and counseling. We also are reaching out to family members who may be at risk, immediately identifying those who could benefit from preventive screening.
  • Identifying new genetic markers/mutations to determine how these cancers respond and adapt to cancer treatments, which will help create a highly individualized treatment plan for each patient.
  • Early detection: MD Anderson investigators are focusing on promising new biomarkers that will find these cancers in their earliest stages, resulting in better treatment outcomes.

The Breast and Ovarian Cancer Moon Shot is poised to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment, with several projects waiting in the wings:

  • New clinical trials of targeted agents tailored to a patient’s specific diagnosis
  • New therapies with minimal side effects
  • Using genetic markers to identify patients who may be at risk for blood clots during treatment
  • Development of new animal models to quickly test emerging therapies
  • Improving survivorship and quality of life

Federal grant opportunities for cancer research are declining, and funding resources are lacking to move these projects forward.

Philanthropy is absolutely critical to the success of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Moon Shot. With help from donors both large and small, initiatives for early detection, diagnosis and personalized treatment can make a rapid transition from the laboratory to the clinic, where thousands of patients can benefit.

Meet the Team: Breast and Ovarian

The moon shot leaders have galvanized a large and integrated team that is moving forward in a milestone-driven manner to convert scientific knowledge into drugs, tests, devices and policies that can benefit patients as quickly as possible.

Chair and Professor, Molecular and Cellular Oncology
Gordon Mills, M.D., PH.D.
Chair and Professor, Systems Biology
Anil Sood, M.D.
Professor, Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine
Breast and Ovarian Team

Stories of Hope: Breast and Ovarian

Katrina Barlow
Breast Cancer Survivor

When diagnosed with breast cancer, Katrina Barlow’s initial reaction was fear. “I was afraid, but I had faith I could overcome it,” she says. “My time at MD Anderson was divine — a blessing — what’s a better word than amazing? They took care of me and continue to care for me.” Nine years later, Katrina is cancer-free. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society and has even begun her own organization. Living and Fighting Fabulously Inc. is a non-profit group that helps women battling breast cancer by providing programs, services and community support. Continue reading...