Dubbed one of the notorious ‘silent killers’, ovarian cancer claims the lives of approximately 14,000 American women each year. Tragically, all women are at risk and early detection and sustainable treatment have proved to be difficult. However, a recent study provides new hope in the realm of ovarian cancer treatment.
Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are commonly prescribed two chemotherapy drugs: paclitaxel and carboplatin. When a patient’s body resists these drugs, she is left with few options for continued ovarian cancer treatment. For those who do not experience initial resistance, the looming threat of recurrence suggests future difficulties.
Thankfully, the ominous outlook for ovarian cancer treatment is looking brighter thanks to physician-scientist Robert C Bast, Jr, MD., and his past support from the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). Acknowledging early funding from the NFCR, Dr. Bast has recently published his research results that provide substantial hope for women undergoing ovarian cancer treatment.
In this study Dr. Bast explains that while carboplatin and paclitaxel can be a strong first-line treatment for ovarian cancer, the drugs are curing less than 20% of advanced stage ovarian cancer.
However, a small molecule inhibitor can improve the response to paclitaxel in ovarian cancer cells and complex models during the pre-clinical research and the combined treatment is being used now in a Phase I trial for ovarian cancer. In the current paper, the research team discovered that the inhibitor increased carboplatin’s ability to induce DNA-damage and apoptosis (cell suicide), simply meaning the drug’s ability to kill cancerous cells improved.
Dr. Bast continues to explain that discovering the impact of the molecular inhibitor on carboplatin provides an exciting outlook for upcoming clinical trials for ovarian cancer treatment.
If the ongoing Phase I trial treating ovarian cancer patients with the combination of paclitaxel and the inhibitor goes well, a Phase I/II trial may be initiated using the molecule inhibitor and carboplatin.
This exciting discovery suggests that women undergoing ovarian cancer treatment may have a more promising outlook, especially those who experience resistance to carboplatin and paclitaxel or have a recurrence of ovarian cancer.
NFCR continues to support world leaders in ovarian cancer research. Amongst these current and past funded scientists are Dr. Danny Welch, Dr. Wei Zhang, Dr. Susan Horwitz, Dr. Amos B. Smith III, and Dr. Harold F. Dvorak. Each dedicated NFCR-funded researcher is committed to game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, and ultimately, a cure.
Visit National Foundation for Cancer Research to learn how you can play a role in supporting world leaders in cancer research.
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