Dialog Box

NHMRC awards more than $12 million to ovarian cancer research

On 4 November 2021, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) announced $239 million in grant funding for 248 projects around Australia, including over $12 million for projects focussed on ovarian cancer.

The OCRF welcomes this continued investment in ovarian cancer research, including projects across an array of research areas and at various stages, including clinical trials.

See a summary of projects awarded funding below. 

Enabling early ovarian cancer diagnosis and prediction of platinum resistance

Ideas grant
RMIT University
Professor Magdalena Plebanski

Submitted project description
Ovarian cancer often gets diagnosed late, and at that stage survival outcomes are poor. Here, we propose to use a simple drop of blood, to detect combinations of proteins and changes in genetic material originating from cancer and immune cells, to support earlier, more accurate diagnosis and predict platinum resistance to avoid delay of personalised treatment. We also develop easy-to-use, low-cost Lab-on-a Chip devices to enable routine testing and monitoring at the point-of-care.

Prospective Ovarian Cancer Cohort to Authenticate Stratification of Prognosis in Ovarian Tumours (POCCA-SPOT)

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants
Professor Susan Ramus

Submitted project description
Ovarian cancer has poor survival, with less than 40% of women surviving 5 years. There is a wide range of survival, but very few characteristics that indicate which patients will do well or poorly. We have developed a tumour test at diagnosis, that can predict prognosis at 5 years. In newly diagnosed cases, we will test tumours to predict prognosis and then determine the accuracy and assess patient acceptability. This study will lead to clinical use of the test and improve treatment decisions.

Development of clinical tests to improve treatment for ovarian cancer patients

Investigator grants
Professor Susan Ramus

Submitted project description
The aim of this program is to improve ovarian cancer survival. In other cancers, tumour tests at diagnosis are used to guide treatment. I will utilise the resources of the international Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis (OTTA) consortium, that I lead, to develop tumour tests to determine the best treatment for each patient. This will include; if they should have surgery before chemotherapy, if they need an alternative to the commonly used chemotherapy, and predicting response to new treatments.

Improving outcomes for patients with homologous recombination deficient cancer

Investigator Grants
QIMR Berghofer
Dr Olga Kondrashova

Submitted project description
Some cancers, including ovarian and breast, have faulty DNA repair, which makes them respond to powerful cancer drugs called PARP inhibitors. Unfortunately, many cancers eventually develop resistance to these drugs. I will use genomic technologies to study the portraits of cancers with faulty DNA repair. I will look at how we can prevent resistance to PARP inhibitors and to treat each cancer most effectively. This important work aims to improve the cancer survival rates.

Driving Improvements in Ovarian Cancer Survival through Molecular and Clinical Studies

Investigator grants
University of Melbourne
Professor David Bowtell

Submitted project description
The Investigator grant would support Professor Bowtell, one of the world’s leading ovarian cancer researchers. His work focuses on clinical problems of chemotherapy resistance, investigator of rare, exceptional survival patient cohorts, and the development of new therapeutic approaches. His studies are underpinned by the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS), one of the world’s most sophisticated clinical cohort studies of ovarian cancer.

Improving outcomes in advanced lung and gynaecological cancers through innovations in clinical trials

Investigator grants
University of Sydney
A.Prof Chee Khoon Lee

Submitted project description
Lung and ovarian cancers are major causes of cancer-related deaths in Australia and worldwide. Improving outcomes for these cancers is a national priority. The overall aim of this project is to better personalise patient treatment and improve their cancer outcomes. The specific objectives are to develop new therapies and strategies for combination treatment, identify new biomarkers, evaluate benefits and harms from treatments, and improve selection of patients for more appropriate therapies.

Super-Responders and Super-Survivors – how to dramatically improve cancer outcomes

Investigator grants
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Professor Clare Scott

Submitted project description
Ovarian cancer and other rare cancer types have low survival rates. My program will study women who achieve very long remissions (“Super-Responders”) following PARP inhibitor + immune therapy and “Super-survivors”, individuals who develop three or more cancers. The underlying genetic mechanisms for this are poorly understood. By studying both, we expect to discover key molecular and immune pathways that should underpin effective therapies to prevent cancer recurrence.

 Find the Department of Health media release online here.

12 November 2021
Category: Media
Tags: funding, medical research, ovarian cancer research, research,