Focus 2014-2015

Stop the Pain and Bleeding:  Fund Fibroid Research

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are firm, stiff nodular tumors that occur in women’s childbearing years.

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The cost of uterine fibroids to our health care system is extremely high and is thought to be $5.9 to 34 billion annually.  Amazingly this is more than the current cost to treat Type II Diabetes in this country.

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Symptoms include heavy periods and heavy bleeding between periods leading in many women to anemia.

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Some uterine fibroids lead to infertility.

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Studies show that fibroids grow differently in African-American women compared to White women.  It is estimated that 80% of African-American women and 70% of Caucasian women will develop uterine fibroids before age 50.

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In analyses examining both number and size of fibroids, 34% of African-American women versus 7.6% of White women had 10 or more fibroids and at least one large fibroid of 5 cm or more.

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Hysterectomy is still the definite treatment for symptomatic fibroids and because it ends the ability to have a child it is a tragedy for many young women.

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Treatment options will be stagnant until scientists discover the underlying reason for uterine fibroid growth and development.

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This is why The Campion Fund has chosen to focus on fibroids in 2014-2015.  Please help us support basic research and make new treatments a reality.

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Campion Presentation to Junior Scientists

Shannon-PCL-judgesShannon Whirledge, recipient of the Campion Fund award for best oral presentation, Phyllis Leppert, President of the Leppert Foundation and David Schomberg, Chair of the independent Award Selection Committee






Chang Liu, recipient of the best poster award with Dr. Leppert and Dr. Schomberg.





Shannon D. Whirledge and Chang Liu received Campion Fund awards at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Triangle Consortium of Reproductive Biology held at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences on Saturday, March 8, 2014 for presentations of outstanding science conducted as junior investigators.  Dr. Whirledge was awarded a prize for her work entitled; Uterine Glucocorticoid Receptor Knockout Mice are Subfertile and Have Aberrant Signal Transduction.  Her work was presented at an oral session and presented evidence that cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress, can affect fertility by directly altering the function of the uterus. Specifically, she demonstrated for the first time that the glucocorticoid receptor can profoundly affect uterine functions by direct action on the uterus itself and not only through the brain’s hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Dr. Whirledge is a scientist in the Molecular Endocrinology Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  The award for the best scientific poster presentation was given to Chang Liu for his study entitled, Somatic Cell Linage Establishment during Organogenesis of the Mouse Ovary.  His work provides clear evidence that the theca cells of the ovary originate during development from both the fetal gonad and the mesonephros (cells which also develop into the kidneys). As the ovary develops, cells from both of these sources acquire specific ways of supporting the developing oocyte (egg) and making androgens, which another cell type in the ovary converts to estrogens. In the recent past, little scientific attention has been paid to theca cells and Dr. Liu’s study is therefore an important fundamental contribution to the field of reproduction. Understanding the origin of these cells in the developing fetus assists in our understanding the normal process of development and how diseases such as infertility and ovarian cancer may arise.  Dr Liu is a member of the Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


The Phyllis and Mark Leppert Foundation for Fertility Research, a 501 (c ) (3) public charity, was founded to promote basic biomedical research on diseases that affect the human reproductive system.  The Campion Fund is funded through tax-deductible donations to the Foundation.

Leppert Foundation

Dr. Phyllis Leppert, MD, PhD, and Dr. Friederike Jayes, PhD, DVM, of Duke University

The Leppert Foundation has three main goals:

1) To provide peer-reviewed grants to research universities and allocated to qualified scientists through the Campion Fund

Topics for each year will be selected jointly by the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board. The topic will be announced in April and grant proposals will be accepted through October. We will also give two awards to the best presentations given by junior investigators at each annual meeting of the Triangle Consortium for Reproductive Biology (TCRB) on March 8th, 2014.  These awards will be given to the investigator’s institutions to be allocated to them.

2) To host an annual conference for the scientific community

“Mechanotransduction in the Reproductive Tract” is the topic for our next conference, October 14–15, 2014, at the Washington Duke Inn, Durham, North Carolina. Plenary Speakers will be: Rocky Tuan, University of Pittsburgh; James H. Segars, NICHD; Janice Evans, Johns Hopkins; Stephen Lye, University of Toronto; and Farshid Guilak, Duke University. Registration will open in April 2014. Abstract submission deadline is August 15, 2014. The proceedings of this meeting will be published.

3) To provide education regarding fertility research to the public

In addition to the research and articles published here, information is available through our blog, VDRs, and through our Lunch and Learn series.  For more information, please contact us.

Areas of Translational Research

  • uterine fibroids
  • endometriosis
  • adnenomyosis
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Peyronie’s Disease
  • benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • varicocele
  • other causes of male and female infertility
  • inherited genetic disease

Areas of Basic Research

  • gene expression and epigenetics
  • organogenesis of the reproductive tracts
  • steroid hormone regulation
  • neuroendocrinology
  • gametogenesis
  • growth and apoptosis in reproductive tissue
  • ligands and receptors
  • mechanotransduction

Phyllis C. Leppert, MD, PhD, Durham, NC
Mark F. Leppert, PhD, Salt Lake City, UT
Tami Leppert, PhD, Salt Lake City, UT

Sarah Berga, MD, Winston-Salem, NC
Terry Hassold, PhD, Pullman, WA
Nancy Kellett, Salisbury, CT
Carmen Sapienza, PhD, Philadelphia, PA
David W. Schomberg, PhD, Durham, NC
James H. Segars, MD, Bethesda, MD
Hugh Taylor, MD, New Haven, CT

Lisa Jones, Evansville, IN
William Kellett, Salisbury, CT

Corrine Belch, Durham, NC
Louane Frey, Cary, NC
Kurt Garrett, Raleigh, NC
William Hackney, Pittsboro, NC
Katherine Reynolds, Chapel Hill, NC
Beverly Thorpe, Chapel Hill, NC


The Campion Fund 990 Form can be found here.

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