Research Funding For Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Carmela Ricciardelli

A Senior Research Fellow and team from the University of Adelaide have received funding from the Cancer Council SA to investigate a potential new treatment for ovarian cancer.

Adelaide Medical School’s Dr Carmela Ricciardelli and team have received $84,000 through the Cancer Council SA Project Grant scheme to research the use of a novel immunotherapy as a way forward for people with ovarian cancer.

The funding will allow Dr Ricciardelli to employ a research officer on the project, which aims to create proof-of-concept pre-clinical evidence that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) cell therapy, which is already used on some blood cancers can be used to treat ovarian cancer.

“In Australia, over 1,500 women are diagnosed and approximately 1,000 women die from ovarian cancer each year – one woman every eight hours,” she said.

“CAR-T therapy involves modifying a patient’s own white blood cells to express specific molecules on their surface, called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).

“These CARs direct T cells to recognise and attack cancer cells.

“We have developed novel CAR-T cell therapy targeting a protein called LGR5, which is involved in the development of many cancer types and is highly expressed in ovarian cancer.

“In this proposal, we will define the effectiveness of LGR5 CAR-T cells in killing ovarian cancer cells isolated from ovarian cancer patients.”

The LRG5 CAR-T will now be tested on normal cells and chemotherapy resistant cells isolated from ovarian cancer patients.

“Current clinical practice consists of surgery and chemotherapy and although initial responses are high, more than 75 per cent of women relapse and acquire chemotherapy resistance,” said Dr Ricciardelli.

“Chemotherapy resistance is the primary cause of ovarian cancer death, and a major limitation to the successful treatment of ovarian cancer.

“The identification of more effect treatment strategies for chemotherapy resistance is essential to improve survival.”

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