Ovarian Cancer Awareness month kicks off with significant discovery

We begin Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with news of fantastic progress by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), who have made significant headway into understanding one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

These Aussie cancer scientists have identified two enzymes that make serous ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy, and can be targeted to improve treatment results.

Serous ovarian cancer is generally an aggressive type of cancer. Due to its location it can move quickly from the ovaries to the abdominal cavity where it then spreads throughout the body quite rapidly.

While chemotherapy often works initially, this form of cancer can find a way of resisting current chemotherapy drugs meaning it quickly becomes immune to ongoing treatment.

Professor Judith Clements from Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute (TRI) said, “This is a very significant step forward because once we know how and why ovarian cancer is resistant to chemotherapy we can then work on possible solutions.”

Professor Clements and her team are already working with Associate Professor Jonathan Harris at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) whose team has developed a drug in pre-clinical testing that inhibits the identified enzymes. Their next step is to develop the drug into a treatment that can be administered effectively in humans.

“This is potentially a major milestone in the road to the development of better treatment for this disease. We know that we are making incremental yet significant advances to combat this most aggressive form of cancer.”

The identification of the enzymes will also act as a marker for patients, to better understand how they might respond to treatment and prepare for their options.

Ovarian cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia.

For more information on ovarian cancer and the treatments available please click here.