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Target Ovarian Cancer is currently funding vital research and has committed over £600,000 to essential research to date.

Current award recipients

Assessing the acceptability and feasibility of systematic genetic testing for women with epithelial ovarian cancer

We have awarded Dr Marc Tischkowitz at the University of Cambridge £175,299 to undertake a landmark clinical study to ensure women receive the appropriate genetic counselling both before and after genetic testing for BRCA gene mutations.

Testing women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer for gene mutations will allow other family members to seek vital help and information in a timely manner. However it is essential that women be supported with qualified genetic counselling throughout the process, especially as testing becomes more widespread and routine.

The Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer study (GTEOC) will primarily aim to ensure a more streamlined, ‘The Cambridge Model’ of genetic counselling before and after BRCA testing is cost effective. It will also ensure it’s feasible and, most crucially, acceptable to women. The trial aims to recruit 400 women.

Targeting microtubules for the treatment of ovarian cancer

We have awarded Dr Ahmed Ashour Ahmed at the University of Oxford £179,997 to facilitate the development of potential new drugs for ovarian cancer. Overcoming chemotherapy resistance is one of the key strategic aims of Target Ovarian Cancer’s research awards as - while many women initially respond well to chemotherapy - most will go on to develop chemotherapy resistant tumours.

Professor Ahmed has identified proteins within ovarian cancer cells which allow them to become resistant to the commonly used chemotherapy Paclitaxel. He aims to develop inhibitors of these proteins which, if successful, could go on to be developed into new drugs for ovarian cancer.

Identication of FEN1 as a new drug target in ovarian cancer

We have awarded Dr Srinivasan Madhusudan at the University of Nottingham £120,000 to develop personalised medicine for ovarian cancer. In collaboration with chemists from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States, Dr Madhusdan aims to develop novel inhibitors of a protein called FEN1.

The team have already discovered that there is more FEN1 in ovarian cancer cells and this is associated with a worse outcome. If successful this important work will pave the way for new drugs which target FEN1 and could be especially active in BRCA-related cancers and chemotherapy resistance cancers.

Circulating tumour DNA as a specific diagnostic biomarker for ovarian cancer

Dr Elizabeth Moore is the first recipient of the prestigious Target Ovarian Cancer / Medical Research Council joint Clinical Research Training Fellowship, a programme dedicated to training the researchers of the future. We have awarded Dr Elizabeth Moore at the University of Cambridge £100,000 to investigate novel methods for the earlier and more precise detection of ovarian cancer. Work on this grant is due to start later this year.

Concluded projects

Does palliative chemotherapy improve symptoms in women with recurrent ovarian cancer? Measuring subjective improvement as well as objective response to estimate the benefit of palliative chemotherapy in women with platinum resistant or refractory ovarian cancer

Dr Anne Lanceley of University College London was awarded £25,000 through our supportive and palliative research award. This funding supported the UK arm of the worldwide study to assess whether the symptoms benefit from chemotherapy can be assessed to allow women to make informed choices about continuing with further rounds of chemotherapy.

Target Ovarian Cancer award funding ended in November 2013. Initial impact (to date):

  • UCL have continued funding the UK arm of the trial
  • 23 centres opened to recruitment
  • 105 patients recruited in the UK
  • Without Target Ovarian Cancer funding women in the UK could not have participated in this crucial clinical study

Our other research work

  • Our Pathfinder Study is the UK’s most comprehensive research study into the experiences of people living or working with ovarian cancer
  • We investigated issues surrounding earlier diagnosis and delays to seeking treatment through a PhD studentship at University College London, jointly funded with Cancer Research UK.

Target Ovarian Cancer does not receive any state funding or funding from pharmaceutical organisations. This research is only made possible through donations and legacies. If you would like to contribute to these research projects and improve treatments for women with ovarian cancer, please visit our donate page.