National Physicians Cooperative: Responsibilities, Benefits, and Membership

The National Physicians Cooperative (NPC) provides access to human ovarian tissue and a collaborative forum for the exchange of ideas, clinical research methods, and technologies in order to drive breakthroughs in basic reproductive physiology that will be translated directly to clinical medicine. The NPC is currently comprised of 4 core institutions and over 50 allied health care centers across the country.

The NPC is led by Mary Ellen Pavone, MD, MSCI at Northwestern University.

Dr. Pavone, the Clinical Director of the NPC, is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Reproductive Tissue Bank (RTB) at Northwestern University. As a physician-scientist Dr. Pavone conducts both basic and clinical research in the field of women’s health, including fertility preservation and infertility. She provides clinical direction for the NPC from the interest of reproductive endocrinology and guidance to sites about enrollment and regulatory affairs. Dr. Pavone also directs processes and standards for maintenance, transport, and referral of tissue.

National Physicians Cooperative Membership

The NPC seeks member institutions that can cultivate strong working relationships between their oncology and reproductive endocrinology provider communities and that are committed to participation in NPC clinical research studies. More information is available on joining the National Physicians Cooperative.

Ovarian Tissue Data Collected by the National Physicians Cooperative (through September 2011)

  • IRB approval for human ovarian tissue results from:
    • Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (from patients less than 39 years old) - 80% for patient use, 20% for research use
    • Ovarian tissue donation (from patients less than 53 years old) - 100% for research use
  • Average age of subjects is 26.5 + 1.1 years old
  • Clinical Indications of patients
    • 27% gynecological malignancy
    • 18% breast malignancy
    • 13% soft tissue malignancy
    • 12% hematological malignancy
    • 9% gynecological prophylaxis
    • 21% other
  • Previous treatment history
    • 48% no treatment
    • 32% treatment
    • 20% unknown
  • Amount of research tissue obtained
    • 43% - 20% of one ovary
    • 19% - other
    • 16% - 20% of a biopsy
    • 12% - 20% of 2 ovaries
    • 5% - 2 whole ovaries
    • 5% - 1 whole ovary

This research was supported by the Oncofertility Consortium®, funded by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, Grant UL1DE19587 and PL1CA133835.  Ongoing funding by the National Institutes of Health, Grant P50HD076188.