Funding boost for ovarian cancer research

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is proud to be a recipient in the latest round of funding from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF).

Professor Ron Firestein will lead a project investigating ways to disrupt the workings of a protein called the PAX8 (Paired-Box Gene 8) for ovarian cancer research.
Professor Ron Firestein

Professor Ron Firestein, Head of the Cancer Centre at Hudson Institute, will lead a project investigating ways to disrupt the workings of a protein called the PAX8 (Paired-Box Gene 8).

This gene increases the ability of cancer cells to grow and metastasise, so understanding how it works could lay the groundwork for improved treatments.

Prof Firestein’s project, which has received $238,000 over two years, could produce life-saving results for women whose current five-year survival rate is just 48 per cent.

Treatment options for ovarian cancer are limited and patients often respond poorly to therapies that can have severe side effects. The recurrence rate is 80 per cent and treatment often fails.

New ovarian cancer therapeutic targets

As part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month the OCRF aims to fill a critical gap in research funding by providing seed funding to projects that are in their initial stages. These projects are often unable to access funding from Government agencies until they have progressed to proof of concept and clinical trial stages.

Professor Firestein said he was indebted to the OCRF for funding this ‘blue sky’ project, which should generate enough data to attract government funding for further research.

“We believe there is huge potential to identify and validate new therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer using this approach,” he said. “Time will tell, but the strength of this approach is that we are screening all genes for targets, so there is a much higher likelihood of finding the ‘needle in the haystack’ that may translate into an effective therapy.”

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“Thank you Hudson Institute researchers. Your work brings such hope to all women with ovarian cancer knowing that potentially women in the future won't have to go through what we have!”

Alana Chantry