Cedars-Sinai's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers women the most up-to-date assessments and treatments, many of which have been developed by our world-class research program. Our physician-scientists identify problems that afflict women, investigate them in the laboratory, and bring their findings to the bedside as quickly as possible. The department is committed to excellence in all areas of women's health. Our physicians, researchers and clinical staff are dedicated to eradicating the illnesses that plague women throughout our community and our world.
Programs and services for women include:
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has many research trials available for women. From women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to those who have ovarian, uterine, cervical and vulvar cancers, our researchers are focused on treatments that benefit all women. Clinical trials are often sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, pharmaceutical companies or national cooperative groups.
Additionally, the Division of Gynecologic Oncology has a long-standing research interest in the molecular biology of gynecologic cancers. Its research laboratory aims to develop potential screening devices and novel strategies for therapy, and is particularly focused on the molecular mechanisms of how ovarian cancers develop and disrupt cellular growth.
Two research registries at Cedars-Sinai promote research geared to women. The Ovarian Cancer Registry allows researchers to monitor the success of various treatments over time by linking research data with clinical information. Over 10 years, this registry has captured data for more than 500 patients, including complete cancer histories, surgical and chemotherapy treatment records and follow-up care.
A gynecologic cancer tissue bank at the Women's Cancer Research Institute holds more than 2,800 samples from patients all over the country. A Human Tissue/Tumor Bank and Relational Database, one of the largest and oldest of its kind in the United States, provides valuable samples of cancerous and non-cancerous tissue along with correlative clinical data, and forms the foundation for our industry leading translational research to advance cancer care and cures.
It is one of the world's most comprehensive gynecologic inventories of cancerous and noncancerous tissue, allowing affiliated scientists to study cancer at every stage of its development and to better understand the contributing genetic causes of cancer.
Research in the REI Division includes hormonal abnormalities that interfere with fertility such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The research studies of Dr. Ricardo Azziz at Cedars-Sinai have shown that PCOS is a complex disease with several genes involved, not just a simple mutation in one gene. His population studies have helped to narrow the search and illuminate genetic differences among women who have this condition. Additional studies currently underway in the Center for Androgen-Related Disorders focus on diagnosing and treating PCOS in its earliest stages especially among the targeted population. Center studies have shown that disorders of androgen excess, including the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), are frequently inherited. The chance is 30 to 50% for a family member of a patient with androgen excess to have that same disorder.
Some of the team's research studies are designed to determine whether family members of patients with PCOS have similar problems, and if there is a pattern of inheritance. Other research protocols involve investigations of insulin resistance and the diagnosis and treatment of androgen-excess disorders.
In the Center for Fertility & Reproductive Medicine, the research studies include discovering the potential causes of premature ovarian failure, and why many women who begin the IVF process do not successfully complete it due to the fertilized egg failing to implant in the uterus. Cedars-Sinai's research in this area has included the investigation of how the embryo recognizes the lining of the uterus.
Cedars-Sinai is also on the cutting edge of research in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. For more than 20 years, Dr. Calvin Hobel has pioneered research into the causes and prevention of pre-term birth, which occurs in about 10 percent of all pregnancies. His work has revealed a wide range of psychosocial stressors on pregnant women that can lead to premature delivery and inadequate fetal growth. Researchers are currently engaged in two studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examining the role of stress in infections that can lead to early onset of labor.
Other investigators in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine are conducting research involving fetal genetics, for example understanding how genetic mutations result in skeletal disorders and exploring how procedures that detect genetic and structural abnormalities in fetuses can be made to be easier and safer for both mothers and babies. Cedars-Sinai is also a leader in developing state-of-the-art screening tests to identify genetic problems, particularly prior to birth and even conception. For example, this team is discovering improved combinations of newly developed maternal blood tests and skin thickness measurements of the early developing embryo provides a wealth of vital information at pivotally early stages.
By translating scientific breakthroughs into new diagnostic and treatments, we are serving as a cornerstone for building a new and health generation of our community. And because Cedars-Sinai delivers more babies and high risk infants than any other hospital in Southern California, this situation allows for physician-scientists to conduct extensive research into vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) and in the use of episiotomy – research that will likely contribute to advancing medical knowledge for generations for come.
The Women's Health Research Registry™ allows women who are potential participants in clinical trials to make their information readily available to researchers. Now with an online component, more than a thousand women have signed up for the registry. Unlike other registries, no particular health status is required. Potential participants are only asked to be willing to get involved as the need arises. For more information about the registry, call (310) 423-9224.
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers a four-year residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Cedars-Sinai is also widely known for its special programs in surgical endoscopy and laser therapy.
Cedars-Sinai offers comprehensive clinical and investigative experience for physicians with an interest in pursuing an academic career in the obstetrics and gynecology subspecialties. The three American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology-approved fellowship programs offered are in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and Gynecologic Oncology. The latter two fellowship programs are joint programs with UCLA. The Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery operates a non-ACGME-approved fellowship is a two-year comprehensive clinical program
Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA
Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Helping Hand of Los Angeles Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology
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