THE $20 million in Federal funding for ovarian cancer research has great potential to benefit a number of world-class studies and clinical trials currently underway in the Hunter, HMRI director, Professor Tom Walley says.
He said strong community support and advocacy in the region, led by former ABC presenter Jill Emberson, had enabled HMRI to accelerate research in this critical area of cancer.
"The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer remains at 45 per cent - a figure that has barely changed over the past five decades - whereas for breast cancer it's now at around 90 per cent of patients," Professor Walley said.
"We stand with ovarian cancer patient and campaigner Jill Emberson and others in saying 'It's time for action', and I congratulate Minister Hunt and the Federal Government for taking this initiative.
"Our goal at HMRI is for each patient to have early diagnosis and access to targeted therapies for optimal care. We're bringing together patients, carers, clinicians, researchers, industry and policy makers from a range of disciplines to help find solutions."
Professor Walley said Associate Professor Nikola Bowden and Laureate Professor John Aitken, from the University of Newcastle, were working on an early detection blood test to help improve survival rates. Currently, there is no effective screening test and the cancer's early symptoms are often vague, leading to late-stage diagnosis for many women.
Associate Professor Bowden and her team were also developing a new combination of low-dose chemotherapy and immunotherapy, repurposing existing drugs for patients with treatment-resistant cancer.
He said Associate Professor Pradeep Tanwar had identified an ovarian cancer biomarker that would potentially allow clinicians to detect ovarian cancer lesions earlier.
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