The Clearity Foundation: Revolutionizing Ovarian Cancer Treatment Through the Use of Tumor Profiling


  • Isabella Johnson Tulane University


This case study discusses the Clearity Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving treatment options for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Laura Shawver, a career cancer researcher who herself was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, created the Clearity Foundation to revolutionize ovarian cancer treatment through the use of molecular tumor profiling, which is the analysis of the tumor genome to reveal specific abnormalities. Shawver challenged the trial-and-error approach to ovarian cancer treatment, advocating instead for an individualized treatment approach using tumor profiling as a way to give ovarian cancer patients the best treatment based on each woman’s unique tumor characteristics. Though there were many challenges to establishing the Clearity Foundation, Shawver’s biggest hurdle came in the form of criticism from gynecological oncologists, who were skeptical of tumor profiling and resisted Shawver’s assertions that it could improve outcomes for women with ovarian cancer. This case illustrates the challenges of advocating for novel treatment within a medical system that has structural barriers that slow the adoption of new discoveries. More broadly, this case explores the role that scientifically based nonprofit organizations like the Clearity Foundation play in advancing medical care, as well as the factors that necessitate the existence and intervention of these types of organizations.


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