Researchers from the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland (MRI-UQ) have developed an antibody drug, in pre-clinical trials, which attacks cancerous ovarian cells.
The drug has been found to successfully target a specific protein which is present only on the surface of cancerous ovarian cells, not on normal ovarian cells.
Associate Professor John Hooper said, “One of the really interesting things is that while normal ovaries don’t produce this protein, the tumours of about 90 per cent of patients do.”
By targeting this protein, the drug will also help limit the serious side-effects of traditional treatments.
“We can attack the cancerous cells while having little impact on the normal ovarian cells, and that reduces the side-effects, which is obviously of great interest to patients” Associate Professor Hooper said.
“Another thing we found with this protein is that it sits on the surface of the cancerous cells so it’s much easier for the drug to target it.”
While the study is still in its early stages, the research team are taking leaps and bounds towards a better understanding of how to attack ovarian cancer, which is currently the second most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia.
In the project’s next phase, researchers will study how the antibody responds to patient samples to further determine its effectiveness.
More information about this discovery can be found here.