Mission and History

Founded in 1999 by Dr. Benedict Benigno, The Ovarian Cancer Institute (OCI) is dedicated to researching cancer of the ovaries. The mission of OCI is threefold: to develop innovative research leading to earlier detection and more effective control of ovarian cancer; to investigate newer modalities of treatment; and to heighten women’s awareness of the symptoms of and treatment options for this disease.

Dr. Benigno founded OCI several decades into a career dedicated to treating women with ovarian cancer. “Every day I would diagnose advanced cancer of the ovary in women who had presented with symptoms for only a few weeks. Every day I would perform extensive surgery that by now should be of historic significance,” says Dr. Benigno. “I knew that the cancer samples I was removing could be put to use in research that might change the experience and the outcomes for these women.”

Dr. Benigno teamed with Dr. John McDonald, chair of the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. McDonald directs the research conducted in OCI’s laboratory located at Tech. Together, Dr. Benigno and Dr. McDonald have formed a collaborative partnership unique to any other research endeavor devoted to ovarian cancer. Tissue and serum samples are collected in Dr. Benigno’s operating room by a dedicated OCI nurse and immediately flash frozen and transported to the OCI lab. Because of this collaboration, OCI has one of the largest tissue and serum banks as well as one of the largest patient history databases for ovarian cancer in the world.

Over the past 14 years, OCI’s research team has made important strides in ovarian cancer research. Click here to read more about our research and what sets OCI apart from traditional research institutions.