News ID: 269393
Published: 1004 GMT May 25, 2020

Studies to boost ovarian cancer survival

Studies to boost ovarian cancer survival

Queensland scientists are trying to find ways to diagnose ovarian cancer earlier and more accurately in the hope of boosting the survival rate.

Last year, 1,046 Australian women died from ovarian cancer, while 1,510 were diagnosed with the disease, reported.

Globally, the survival rate for ovarian cancer patients is about 35 percent, compared to about 90 percent for people diagnosed with breast cancer.

It's a statistic two teams of University of Queensland scientists hope to improve.

One study will test the suitability of a new agent in fighting the most common type of ovarian tumor — epithelial ovarian cancer — which develops in the lining of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

It's the first study of its kind in humans.

Epithelial ovarian cancer generally responds to initial treatments, but, for most women, the disease eventually progresses.

"By administering this new agent, we will attach a tracer to the ovarian cancer cells, which is expected to make detection of the disease easier during radiology scans, similar to what is currently performed with prostate cancer diagnosis," said University of Queensland Associate Professor Paul Thomas.

Dr. Carlos Salomon Gallo is conducting a separate study to find a tool to detect ovarian cancer at an early, treatable stage.

The study will investigate small bubbles produced by cells, known as exosomes, that are like handwritten letters in which cancer cells can send signals to normal cells to spread the tumor.

"My research goal is to use these exosomes as 'liquid biopsies', enabling early detection of the disease without the need for more invasive procedures," Salomon Gallo added.

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