Three female researchers wearing lab coats looking at and pointing to information on a computer screen

Research

Our distinctive medical research programme funds ovarian cancer-specific research across the UK. We fund innovative research that will benefit the largest proportion of women with ovarian cancer in the shortest timeframe.

In a short period of time, we've developed a reputation as a funder of high-quality research to benefit women with ovarian cancer. We've already committed over £1.25 million to 10 outstanding projects through our translational research awards for new treatments.

The impact of our research

Genetic testing

Our research helped develop a new protocol for genetic testing in ovarian cancer, which is being rolled out to the benefit of women and their families across the UK.

Dr Marc Tischkowitz's landmark clinical study at the University of Cambridge aimed to ensure appropriate genetic counselling both before and after testing for BRCA gene mutations. The study explored the benefits of counselling alongside testing for BRCA mutations in terms of cost, feasibility and benefit for women. The findings have been published in the prestigious Journal of Medical Genetics.

A new protocol, 'delivering improved access to genetic testing in epithelial ovarian cancer', has also been published to enable other NHS providers set up similar models and services in their regions, benefiting even more women with ovarian cancer and their families.

Early diagnosis

We tackled early diagnosis of ovarian cancer through research to find a novel way to detect ovarian cancer by identifying tumour DNA fragments in the blood.

There's currently no proven screening test for ovarian cancer and a complete diagnosis is only possible through investigative surgery. Dr Liz Moore's project, funded jointly with the Medical Research Council, paves the way for the development of new and more accurate diagnostic tests for ovarian cancer. This research has been published in Science Translational Medicine.

Improving treatment

We took steps to overcoming a significant problem in ovarian cancer treatment: resistance to chemotherapy drugs. While many women with ovarian cancer respond well to the taxanes in chemotherapy drug paclitaxel, around 60 per cent go on to develop a resistance to it.

Led by Professor Ahmed Ahmed, our researchers at the University of Oxford found that ovarian cancer cells become more sensitive to paclitaxel when FER enzymes are prevented from working. This research could be translated into developing more effective therapies which enhance the effectiveness of paclitaxel treatment. The results were published in the prestigious Nature Communications in 2018.