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Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Thursday 5 June 2014

Target Ovarian Cancer is proud to present a short film highlighting a landmark clinical study we are funding at the University of Cambridge as part of our ongoing medical research programme. The study looks into the missing evidence of what works best for counselling women and their families who are discovered to have the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation.

Current testing for BRCA gene mutations

Until recently family history was the basis on which women would be offered a genetic test following a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer to detect a BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation. Discovering one of these mutations can have a significant impact on women and their families and counselling from an expert genetic counsellor is provided to support them through this process. These genetic tests can help family members identify and manage their risk of developing BRCA-related ovarian or breast cancer and can help optimise treatment options for women with ovarian cancer.

New developments in testing for BRCA gene mutations

Innovations in technology the need to optimise treatment and the unreliability of taking family histories now means many cancer centres are routinely offering genetic testing for nearly all newly diagnosed women with ovarian cancer irrespective of their family history. However this raises questions about the suitability and quality of counselling provided as more and more women are offered genetic testing.

To address these questions we are funding the Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (GTEOC) clinical study to assess the feasibility and vitally the acceptability to women of new streamlined genetic counselling services. To hear more about this essential study from the principal investigator Marc Tischkowitz the study research genetic counsellor Hannah Shipman and our own Head of Research Dr Simon Newman please watch the film.

Familial ovarian cancer work

The GTEOC study was funded in our first ever-funding round in 2012 and was selected from a highly competitive field of applications by international peer review review by our Scientific Advisory Board and by lay review by our dedicated research advocates. To date we have committed over £600000 to research across the UK supporting new drug development palliative care research and training the researchers of tomorrow.

The study forms part of our ongoing familial ovarian cancer work which includes GP learning Tools our "Why men matter" campaign and funding for studies to find new treatments for BRCA-related cancers. We’re also working with Breakthrough Breast Cancer to review information available to women with a family history of breast cancer about the risks of ovarian cancer and vice versa and we’re developing new psychosocial materials to support women considering and undergoing testing and those subsequently making choices about risk reduction.

For health professionals: please see our statement on familial ovarian cancer and our GP family history pages.