World Ovarian Cancer Day held annually on 8 May aims to raise awareness about a form of cancer that often goes undetected until it has reached advanced stages.
Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer and over 1,500 women in Australia are diagnosed each year. While there has been some improvement in survival rates, they still remain below 45%.
Professor Anna deFazio, an eminent expert at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research identified that, “one of the reasons for the low survival rate is that ovarian cancer in one patient is just not the same as ovarian cancer in another patient”. This means that the same treatment doesn’t work for everyone, which makes it crucial to identify the molecular features of a patient’s tumour for the best possible treatment.
Professor Anna deFazio and her team are leading the way to create a new treatment pathway that revolutionises how women with ovarian cancer are treated. The new treatment pathway takes into account the molecular drivers that cause different subtypes of ovarian cancer, and excitingly, new drugs are emerging that can target those alterations.
Through targeted clinical trials, they are screening patient’s tumour in real-time to identify which drugs could work and personalising the treatment accordingly. The groundbreaking approach and research program has the potential to unlock new avenues for ovarian cancer treatment and also for other cancer types as well which can improve outcomes for people impacted by cancer.