The inaugural Dr Sue Fowler Scholarship in Ovarian Cancer has been awarded to PhD student, Nazanin Karimnia to support her research into new ovarian cancer therapies.
There is an urgent need for new therapies to improve the long-term survival of ovarian cancer patients. Ovarian cancer is a disease with a five-year mortality rate of around 70 per cent.
While most patients are initially responsive to chemotherapy, 90 per cent of patients relapse and develop drug-resistant disease.
Nazanin, a PhD candidate with the Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers laboratory, is investigating how targeting a unique signature, or marker, could help to disrupt the cells that lead tumour invasion.
The marker, called Keratin14, is expressed by cancer cells that control how ovarian tumours invade and implant into healthy tissues. By disrupting this process, Nazanin hopes to develop a new therapy to treat ovarian cancers, at all stages of progression.
“These cells are like the tip of the invading arm in the ‘army’ of cancer cells,” Nazanin explains.
“By targeting these ‘leaders’ through the Keratin14 marker, we could potentially disrupt the initial invasion of the cancer cells and prevent further tumour dissemination.
“Our aim is to develop a novel, effective and non-toxic anti-cancer strategy that can stabilise or regress disease and enhance the effectiveness of existing ovarian cancer treatments.
“Women diagnosed at any stage of ovarian cancer will benefit from the outcomes of this research.”
The goal of the scholarship is to assist outstanding students to start a career in ovarian cancer research and to improve treatment and diagnostic approaches for women with ovarian cancer.
The scholarship was established in honour of the late Dr Sue Fowler, to support a Hudson Institute PhD student undertaking research into ovarian cancer.
Dr Sue Fowler was a dedicated and caring medical practitioner and Hudson Institute is grateful for the generous and foresighted support of her family in creating this important scholarship in her memory.
OVARIAN CANCER FACTS
- Every year, approximately 1500 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, most of them with an advanced stage of the disease.
- Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.
- On average, four Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day.
- Six out of ten ovarian cancer cases occur in women over the age of 60. The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age.
Dr Maree Bilandzic
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