Australian researchers are developing an early detection blood test that could significantly increase the survival rate of ovarian cancer patients. Currently, just 20 per cent of patients survive beyond five years, The Australian reported.
Upon discovering the changes that occur in the DNA of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, researchers at Sydney’s Garvan Institute are applying these findings to the creation of a blood test that “would improve the survival rate from the cancer from 20 up to 90 per cent.”
Approximately 1,200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Because it often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen, it is considered difficult to treat.
"Looking at DNA changes in samples derived from the blood rather than from tumor helps us link our findings more directly to an early detection program based on blood tests," researcher Dr Goli Samimi said.
"It is clear that developing a test to facilitate early detection is our best chance of reducing the toll of this terrible disease.”
The research is being partially funded by property developer Margaret Rose, who offered a unit in her Breakfast Point development. Ms Rose was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 18 years ago but was able to catch it early on.
"Instead of spending six months writing papers and applying for grants, the team can spend time on the research instead," she said.
If the blood test is successful for ovarian cancer detection, researchers are hopeful that other tests may be developed for “other difficult to treat cancers” such as pancreatic and lung cancer.