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Can our cells be 're-educated' to fight ovarian cancer?

Wellbeing of Women has invested £239,325 in Dr Samar Elorbany’s project to explore new ways of treating a chemotherapy-resistant strain of ovarian cancer

More than 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

If it’s detected early, it’s likely a woman will survive for five years after her diagnosis – but unfortunately, seven out of ten women are diagnosed when it’s already advanced.

While chemotherapy and surgery may treat the cancer at first, most women will find that the disease comes back within a couple of years – this time, resistant to chemotherapy.

Thousands of women urgently need an effective treatment for this cancer, which is why Dr Samar Elorbany of Queen Mary University of London is exploring new options.

New potential drugs

Cancers are made up of dangerous cells, but also ‘normal’ cells that have been corrupted by the cancer to help it survive and spread.

But Dr Elorbany thinks there may be a way to re-educate some of these ‘normal’ cells – the immune cells – so that they fight the cancer instead.

In her study, Dr Elorbany will study these immune cells in-depth to better understand them, and explore new potential drugs that could re-programme them in this way.

If successful, Dr Elorbany’s project could take us one step further to unlocking new treatments for high-grade serous ovarian cancer and changing the lives of thousands of women.

Our health information on gynaecological cancers

As a women’s health charity, part of what we do is improve awareness and understanding of women's reproductive and gynaecological health.