There are more than 7,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed every year in the UK. More than 70% of them are diagnosed at an advanced stage when the cancer has already spread.
Currently, the available treatment is a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. The response rate is around 50-60% only. The five year survival is only 46% as unfortunately the majority of patients relapse and become resistant to chemotherapy.
Wellbeing of Women is funding scientists at Barts Cancer Institute to help improve the response to chemotherapy and increase survival rates.
They aim to develop new drugs that can improve the response to chemotherapy as well as increase the ability of the immune system to fight cancer.
Wellbeing of Women research at Barts Cancer Institute
Lead researcher Samar Elorbany said: “In this project, we aim to study the different types of immune cells that are present in the tumour before and after chemotherapy and how different types of immune cells can impact the cancer survival and recurrence.
“Currently there are drugs being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of relapsed cancer that is usually resistant to the traditional treatment.
“We believe that it is crucial to first understand how different cells of the immune system function.
“Therefore we aim to study the different types of immune cells that are present in the tumour before and after chemotherapy and how different types of immune cells can impact the cancer survival and recurrence.
“This can provide potential targets for new drugs to be developed.”