Scientists Develop New Approach to Study a Dangerous Form of Ovarian Cancer

According to a story from Stanford News, a team of researchers affiliated with Stanford University have successfully developed a new technique for studying high-grade serous ovarian cancer, which is one of the more deadly forms of ovarian cancer. It is also one of the most common. It is notable for often being detected at an advanced stage and for developing drug resistance quickly.

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can appear on or within the ovary. Ovarian cancer rarely causes distinctive symptoms in its early stages, so many patients are often diagnosed with advanced disease. The risk of getting ovarian cancer is connected to how long a woman has ovulated during her life; women who ovulate for longer periods are at greater risk. Late menopause or early puberty are risk factors, as are not having children, fertility medication, certain genetic variants and mutations (such as BRCA mutations), and exposure to talc, herbicides, and pesticides. Some symptoms of ovarian cancer include fatigue, bloating, a feeling of fullness, loss of appetite, indigestion, abdominal swelling, and pelvic pain. Treatment can include chemo, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. There are many different kinds of ovarian cancer. Five year survival rate is 45 percent in the US. To learn more about ovarian cancer, click here.

Researching High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer

High-grade serous ovarian cancer has a worse prognosis than ovarian cancer in general, with a five year survival rate of just 30 percent. Intensive study and research of this variant will be essential for the development of new therapies that will be able to effectively treat it and improve outcomes for patients. The researchers have incorporated new imaging approaches, patient focused studies, and mouse models in an effort to learn more about this cancer.

The biggest mystery of high-grade serous ovarian cancer is its exceptional ability to develop resistance to common treatments like chemotherapy. The research is expected to focus on how the tumor interacts within the environment of the ovary; for example, high-grade serous tumors tend to alter the structure of collagen in the connective tissue surrounding them.

The team plans to use a microscope commonly employed by chemists to see how serous ovarian cancer cells interact with a number of materials that behave similarly to human tissue. While this is just the beginning of this research, its findings could have major consequences for the treatment of this deadly form of ovarian cancer.

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