With the hope of improving survival rates, Melbourne scientists are developing a screening test to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages.
Currently there are no early detection tests. This means women are often diagnosed after the tumours have already spread, making it harder to treat. These factors are why ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate out of all gynaecological cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 44%.
Scientists at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research (HIMR) are developing a tool, called the active ratio test, which detects a protein (CXCL10) secreted by the tumours. This test has the potential to match the success of other screening programs such as Pap smears and mammograms.
Thanks to funding from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, Dr Stephens and his team at the HIMR have broken new ground in understanding high-grade serious ovarian cancers. Once the test has been validated, trials will begin in Victorian women who have a high risk of developing ovarian cancers.
“The ultimate goal is to have a screening program that can detect disease in the absence of any symptoms, which allows for earlier treatment and gives women the best chance of survival,” Dr Stephens said.
Read more about the research: HERE.