The vision of the ovarian group is to develop biomarker tests, which will predict response based upon the biology of the tumour.
We work in close collaboration with the Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre in Gateshead, which enables us to work with clinical samples - this being the most representative model for ovarian cancer.
Our research has several themes including the use of GnRH II analogues and Met inhibitors in ovarian cancer.
Two further themes are outlined in more detail:
Tumours defective in homologous recombination (HR), secondary to mutations of the BRCA genes, have already been shown to be sensitive to PARP inhibitors. We have now demonstrated that up to 50% of ovarian cancers may be defective in HR and that HR status correlates very well with sensitivity to PARP inhibitors. We have developed tests, which can accurately predict the HR status of a tumour and current work is focussing on developing this test to be suitable for clinical use.
Many ovarian cancers express the androgen receptor in abundance. Since androgens are thought to play a major role in the development of ovarian cancer, we are focussing on using androgen receptor expression, in conjunction with a panel of other potential markers, to pre-determine response to anti-androgen therapy. This is a non-toxic treatment, which if accurately targeted, could benefit a small but significant number of patients.