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If successful, this project could dramatically improve survival outcomes for women with ovarian cancer.

Lead researcher:

Dr Elizabeth Moore

Location: University of Cambridge

Research strand: Early diagnosis              

Dr Moore is investigating novel methods for the earlier and more precise detection of ovarian cancer.

There is currently no proven screening test for ovarian cancer. The cervical smear test does not detect ovarian cancer and a complete diagnosis is only possible through investigative surgery. The aim of this study is to develop a new and more accurate way of diagnosing ovarian cancer by detecting alterations in DNA in routine blood and cervical smear samples.

Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is key to survival. Two-thirds of women are diagnosed too late, once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. If an accurate test can be developed to detect ovarian cancer early, it would have a significant impact on women receiving treatment as soon as possible, thereby increasing their likelihood of survival.

This work hopes to show that mutations in DNA can be detected at the time of diagnosis, particularly in early stage disease, meaning this method could be used as a potential non-invasive test for cancer diagnosis. This would lead to larger scale clinical studies that could potentially increase the early detection of ovarian cancer and thereby improve survival.

If successful, this project could dramatically improve survival outcomes for women with ovarian cancer, in the same way that screening programmes for other cancers have been shown to do.

Dr Moore is the first recipient of the highly prestigious joint Target Ovarian Cancer and Medical Research Council Joint Clinical Research Training Fellowship, a programme dedicated to training the ovarian cancer clinical researchers of the future.