Dialog Box

Collaborative Funding for Ovarian and Breast Cancer Research

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) unite against ovarian and breast cancer.

The OCRF and NBCF are proud to announce the recipient of a new joint research grant - Professor Kum Kum Khanna from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland.


The project will investigate a new combination therapy that has shown promise for both serous-type ovarian cancer and triple negative breast (TNBC).

The treatment will focus on an important part of the body’s natural recycling system, called proteasomes. These complexes break down unneeded or damaged proteins in the body, however they can play an unwanted assistive role in cancer. A class of drugs, called proteasome inhibitors, can act to selectively kill cancer cells, and also prevent their growth and spread in the body.

Previous generations of proteasome inhibiting drugs were not very effective against cancer, as they couldn’t penetrate into solid tumours or get into the brain. Professor Khanna and her team have shown that a new drug, called marizomib, is more effective than the older options, and can reduce the growth and spread of TNBC. The current project will now assess the drug as a treatment for ovarian cancer.

In addition to testing marizomib alone, the researchers will also test it in combination with other FDA-approved drugs. They believe that these combination therapies may lead to a potential treatment for both breast and ovarian cancer.

Our other goal is to identify genes to help select patients who will respond best to these new drugs,” said Professor Khanna. “The successful completion of this research project will revolutionise treatment, extend life, and decrease mortality associated with metastatic breast and ovarian cancer.”

THE IMPORTANce of working collaboratively

The OCRF is Australia’s leading national body funding research into ovarian cancer. Our vision is to ensure a future where every woman, everywhere, can live free from the threat of ovarian cancer. For the first time, we have joined forces with the NBCF, the leading national body for breast cancer, to provide this new joint grant scheme.

“We’re incredibly excited by the potential of this project to extend women’s lives through the identification of an inhibitor that could be used to slow the metastasis of ovarian cancer. Our partnership with the NBCF is further demonstration of how creative collaborations can unlock funding for innovative research in women’s health,” said Lucinda Nolan, CEO of OCRF.

Professor Sarah Hosking, CEO of NBCF agreed, “As part of its extended research approach, NBCF has partnered with OCRF to investigate the benefits of mutual learnings between breast cancer and ovarian cancer. This partnership will enable us to identify commonalities between breast and ovarian cancer that will lead to groundbreaking research outcomes and expedite new treatment regimens. This will directly impact Australians affected by breast and ovarian cancer.”

Ovarian cancer treatment hasn’t changed substantially in more than 30 years. Finding new and effective treatments for ovarian cancer is a research priority for the OCRF. This award will support Professor Khanna in her outstanding translational research, to the benefit of all women with cancer.

Read about OCRF's other collaborative initiatives

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27 April 2020
Category: Research news