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A research team from the University of Manchester believe to have identified a new way to target ovarian cancer.
Recently developed treatments have increased patient survival rates by using medication which targets a tumour’s blood vessels and starves it of the essential nutrients and oxygen needed for the cancer cells to thrive and live. However, many ovarian cancer patients go on and develop a resistance to these medicines and grow new blood vessels that continue spreading the cancer.
Now, scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered a therapy, which targets several routes that ovarian cancer cells use to escape cell death, at the same time. This differs from current treatments because it attacks the cancer from all possible ‘exit routes’ instead of just one.
This research will also enable scientists and other researchers to develop newer and more effective anti-cancer drugs which target ovarian cancer through stopping the development of new tumour blood vessels.
Professor Gordon Jayson, who led the research group, said, “This knowledge gives us the opportunity to develop new anti-cancer drugs aimed against these growth factors. Targeting multiple factors and blocking several avenues that tumour cells use to escape eradication at the same time may be a better strategy than current drugs, which target only one molecule.”
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynaecological cancers due to most cases being diagnosed when the disease is already in the advanced stages. Around 7,000 women are diagnosed each year in the UK, and 4,000 are not expected to survive, but if patients were diagnosed earlier 90% of these cases could beat the disease.
This new research could lead to huge leaps in both treatment and prevention of the disease amongst some of the 7,000 women diagnosed every year, and with lower survival rates than other female cancers, this is great news. With faster diagnosis and better treatment, ovarian cancer can be survived by many more patients each year, which is great news.