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Maureen's story

Just before starting chemotherapy I received a phone call from a specialist nurse at the hospital. She told me that I had a type of cancer called ovarian clear cell carcinoma.

Lead researcher:

Professor Iain McNeish

Location: University of Glasgow

Research strand: Treatment

This project is looking at developing new treatments for ovarian clear cell carcinoma, a rare subtype of ovarian cancer.

There are several different types of ovarian cancer, and distinct approaches are required to treat each type successfully. Clear cell carcinoma can be particularly aggressive. However, there are no existing treatments that target this type of ovarian cancer, which responds very poorly to conventional chemotherapy. Research in this area is therefore a priority.

Recent research shows that a molecule called interleukin-6 (IL-6) may be critical in the development of ovarian clear cell carcinoma. The team are evaluating the effectiveness of drugs that block IL-6, which could then be used as potential treatments for clear cell ovarian cancer.

The team propose to repurpose existing drugs already in hospital pharmacies across the UK for other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, rather than developing new ones. If successful, the project would be the catalyst for a subsequent clinical trial of these drugs in women with ovarian clear cell carcinoma. The use of repurposed drugs would also speed up the time taken for the potential treatment to reach patients.

The overall aims are to generate robust data showing that targeting IL-6 may be promising in the treatment of ovarian clear cell carcinoma. In the longer term, we would hope that anti-IL-6 therapy could become a standard treatment for women with ovarian clear cell carcinoma. This research may also provide valuable insight that could be applied to other types of ovarian cancers in the future, which would benefit more women. For example, such approaches are being explored for PARP inhibitors to extend their use beyond patients with a mutation in their BRCA gene.