Dialog Box

Government announces $16.2m for ovarian cancer research

On World Ovarian Cancer Day, the Federal Government joined the OCRF led push for greater investment in much needed ovarian cancer research to save women’s lives.
The Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced $16.2 million in funding to eight ovarian cancer research projects.

The eight projects, funded from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), will support research in several priority areas including:

  • an improved understanding of risk factors for ovarian cancer;
  • methods to assist with early diagnosis and treatment;
  • best practice models for clinical management; and
  • repurposing drugs for treatment resistant ovarian cancer.

The funding strongly reflects the OCRF’s urgent priorities, stated within our research strategy; giving hope to women now who are living with ovarian cancer, as well as changing the prognosis for all women via early detection.

Read the Federal Health Minister’s Media Release

OCRF supported projects awarded MRFF funding

The OCRF continues to focus on research that can save women’s lives and is proud to have contributed funding to three of the projects selected by the MRFF.

These three projects have been awarded over $5.3 million of the total $16.2 million granted by the MRFF. The OCRF is supplementing each of these grants – focused on understanding and treating ovarian cancer - with partial support for research staff to the value of $285,000 over the life of the projects.

“This is incredibly important for women who have this disease, and we hope that we can address the many knowledge, research and treatment gaps for this disease. We are thrilled that our partnership can continue for the duration of this project, as we bring tangible clinical benefits to patients and their families. " Dr Simon Chu, MRFF Recipient, Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Find out more about the projects:

Funding in partnership is working

Over the last two years, the OCRF has led the way in generating more scientific research funding for ovarian cancer by joining with like-minded, expert, philanthropic bodies.

By establishing partnerships with the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cancer Council Victoria, the OCRF has unlocked millions of dollars in additional funding to ovarian cancer research.

These partnerships have also encouraged collaboration and knowledge sharing between cancer types,  promoting better outcomes for women’s health and wellbeing.

The OCRF is pleased to be able to extend its partnership model to work hand in hand with the Federal Government, researchers and their institutions to leverage additional research funding so that every woman, everywhere, can be free from the threat of ovarian cancer.⁠

Check out OCRF’s other collaboratively funded research

The Research Projects

Each of the three successful recipients were exceptionally grateful for the recognition by Federal Government of both the need for greater investment into ovarian cancer and the promise of their research.

Towards a new era in granulosa cell tumour (GCT) research: patient driven outcomes, genomics, diagnostics and therapeutics

Dr Simon Chu’s Hormone Cancer Therapeutics team at Hudson Institute of Medical Research is working with collaborators to improve outcomes for women with hormonally active granulosa cell tumours (GCT) – a rare type of ovarian cancer.

The project to combat ovarian GCT received $2,218,870 from the MRFF from 2020-2024 with supplementary funding from the OCRF.

Dr Chu says the grant will allow the team to build on progress already made from research previously funded by the OCRF in understanding and fighting GCT, which accounts for 5-10 per cent of ovarian cancers and can occur at any age.

“Part of the work is to look at the genomic landscape and the mutations that are causing a tumour to become more aggressive,” Dr Chu explains. “When the tumours recur, they’re particularly aggressive and can’t be treated.”

Find out more about Dr Chu’s GCT project

Ovarian cancer early detection, monitoring and therapeutic intervention using extracellular vesicles

Dr Carlos Salomon Gallo from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research was awarded $1,213,467 from 2021-2024 to expand his research project currently funded by the OCRF.

Focusing on investigating the role of exosomes – tiny vesicles released from cells that are believed to act as messengers to other cells – Dr Salomon Gallo and his team hope to identify the role and mechanisms of exosomes in slowing cancer progression and chemotherapy resistance for epithelial ovarian cancers.

Epithelial ovarian cancers are the most common type of ovarian tumour and comprise over 90% of cases.

Dr Salomon Gallo says the project also aims to evaluate whether exosomes could be used to deliver therapeutic agents to cancerous cells in the hopes of improving patient outcomes.

“This award is also a recognition of The University of Queensland, and the OCRF for believing in our work, and how teamwork is the key to success” Dr Salomon Gallo says.

Find out more about Dr Salomon Gallo’s project


A new radio-imaging agent to guide targeted therapy for epithelial ovarian cancer

Professor John Hooper and his team from Mater Research at the University of Queensland is  focused on developing agents that can both diagnose and treat epithelial ovarian cancer. The team’s goal is to evaluate a new radio-imaging agent to guide targeted therapy for women who have ovarian cancer, in the first study of its kind in humans.

By administering this new agent, the team will attach a tracer to the ovarian cancer cells, which is expected to make detection of the disease easier during radiology scans, similar to what is currently performed with prostate cancer diagnosis.

Professor Hooper says the project, which was awarded $1,893,306, is the culmination of nearly 20 years of research - all the way from the initial discovery in the lab to being here on the threshold of conducting a clinical trial.

The project is a wonderful collaboration of scientists and clinicians from very diverse backgrounds as well as patients and family members who are guiding the team on their journey.

“We have also been blessed by the generous support of our country's major ovarian cancer advocacy organisations including the OCRF, ANZGOG and Tour de Cure" says Professor Hooper.

Find out more about Professor Hooper’s project

Keeping the momentum

The demand for funding promising ovarian cancer research projects is increasing. As one of the primary funders of ovarian cancer research in Australia, we rely on community support to help us meet this demand. With the advent of COVID-19, this is more important than ever.

Help us keep the momentum in ovarian cancer research with a donation today


28 May 2020
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