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Imagining a world where ovarian cancer is a manageable disease

Right now at Mater Research—our world-class research institute—we have several research teams specialising in ovarian cancer and we’re continue to see a growing investment in this space thanks to you.

We know that ovarian cancer is often diagnosed often too late, due to its hidden symptoms.

But what if women, once diagnosed, could be offered a personalised treatment plan, tailored to their own genetic predisposition? One that would allow them to treat their ovarian cancer as a manageable disease, with medication and lifestyle programs to prevent tumour recurrence?

Professor John Hooper and his team of researchers at Mater are working towards this goal. His work is identifying which drugs will inhibit cancer growth, or even cause it to regress, by comparing the genetic samples of patient tumours with a genetic analysis of their blood.

The aim is to find the drug, or drugs, that inhibit or prevent genetic changes from fuelling cancer growth in each individual patient.

If successful, this research at Mater could turn ovarian cancer into a manageable disease, with individually tailored treatment plans based on genetic analysis of each patient.

And for ovarian cancer survivor, Katherine Brown, she knows that cancer does not discriminate.

 “Ovarian cancer doesn’t discriminate against age and there is still no early detection test such as a pap smear.”

Katherine, diagnosed with ovarian cancer at just 22.

After her own cancer experience, Katherine has gone on to fundraise for Mater by hosting several high teas for Tea for Teal during May each year, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, because she sees the difference research can make.

“We all know someone who has been touched by cancer and ovarian cancer often flies under the radar so I think it’s great to have research like Professor Hooper’s that will improve treatment options as well as help work towards an early detection test for women,” Katherine said.

Professor Hooper is a Mater Foundation Fellow, and this promising project is funded through the support of generous donations. Mater Foundation is actively seeking ongoing support for this area.

Did you know? Our research teams are special in that they are able to translate their research findings from ‘bench to bedside’ as quickly as possible—from their research labs to the patient’s bedside within Mater’s hospital network; directly benefiting patients at Mater, across Australia and around the world.

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