Mater Ovarian Cancer Research Collaborative

Mater researcher Professor Geoff Faulkner and his lab have published a paper that explores the development of resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. Each year 1400 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Tragically, 65 per cent of these women will not survive. Unlike other cancers, the survival rate for women with ovarian cancer has not improved in 15 years.

Ovarian cancer research at Mater is conducted within the auspices of the Mater Ovarian Cancer Research Collaborative—made up of an outstanding team of clinicians and researchers who have expertise in all of the areas needed for state-of-the-art patient care as well as world leading research.

In collaboration with MOCRC, and Mater Health, Professor Faulkner and his lab conducted a genomic analysis of 19 ovarian cancer patients from Mater. Their research revealed that mobile DNA activity, and the diverse character of ovarian tumours, has the potential to impact treatment and patient outcomes. 

Acquired resistance to chemotherapy is a major cause of mortality for patients with ovarian cancer.

Resistance to chemotherapy occurs when some of the cells in a tumour treated with chemotherapy are not killed by the drug, and then mutate to become resistant to future treatments. Once those cells multiply again, the tumour is mainly comprised of cells that are resistant to chemotherapy. New “genomic” tools can allow researchers to identify mutations associated with chemo-resistance.

“Genomic analysis of tumours is becoming increasingly routine in deciding upon the best treatment for a given type of cancer.” Professor Faulkner said.

“This work shows how a tumour responds to chemotherapy. Having this information could potentially change clinical management.”

“The study was only possible due to the successful collaboration with Prof Lew Perrin and other Mater Gynaecological Oncology Service clinicians, as well as the generosity of their patients, who provided samples for research."

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