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Welcome to the Women's Health Integrated Research Center

The Women’s Health Integrated Research Center at Inova Health System (WHIRC) is a state of the art research facility established by the Department of Defense Gynecologic Cancer Center of Excellence (GYN-COE) to identify molecular alterations associated with gynecologic cancer and facilitate the development of novel early detection, prevention, and treatment strategies for the management of this disease.

The development and implementation of the WHIRC is motivated by the recognition that the science of biomarker identification and validation, particularly those utilizing cutting-edge molecular analysis technological platforms, offer abundant promise for molecular diagnosis and classification of pathologies unique to women’s health. Studies utilizing cutting-edge analytical platforms are expected to lead rapidly to translational applications for improved detection, diagnosis, and prognosis; and for determining efficacy of treatment.
The WHIRC at Inova is uniquely positioned to enable clinical applications of state-of-the-art systems level molecular profiling that have a major impact on diagnosis, assessment of prognosis and response to treatment. Accordingly, the mission of the WHIRC at Inova Health System is to apply “omics” technologies, instrumentation and resources focused on identifying, characterizing, and validating biomarkers for clinical applications in diseases that are relevant to the female warrior and the military family.  In meeting this aim, the WHIRC has expanded its cancer centric scope of work and initiated collaborations with the Translational Research and Personalized Medicine Institute at Inova Health System to use a variety of analytical platforms to investigate perinatal diseases and maternal-fetal health.
Since understanding of disease-related biology does not conform neatly to an isolated approach of scientific disciplines such as biochemistry or molecular biology, and with the recent emergence of modern genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and other related technologies, it is increasingly important to combine all possible approaches of biological analyses into a systematic study of molecular processes of underlying cancer biology, otherwise known as systems biology. This field is driving towards the goal of analyzing, linking and explaining aspects of biology from the molecular to the population level. Within this context, genomics, proteomics, and, most recently metabolomics, are leading edge research technologies that show promise for revolutionizing manifold clinical applications including:

  • provide prognostic information on individual patients,
  • determine which patients will benefit most from a given therapy,
  • provide improved and early assessment of individual patients’ responses to therapy,
  • identify patients who can be treated effectively with minimally toxic therapies as well as patients with potentially lethal pathologies that would require intensive and aggressive clinical interventions,
  • identify potential new drug targets, and
  • enhance the understanding of how therapies work at the cellular level.
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