According to a story from rdmag.com, a recent study is offering a possible solution to one of the difficulties in treating ovarian cancer. This difficulty is the fact that many ovarian cancer cases, around 70 percent in fact, tend to recur after initial treatment. The study has identified the targeting of certain ovarian cancer cells that resemble stem cells as a potential solution to this issue.
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.
About The Study
The study is focused on the potential of an experimental drug which, for the time being, is known as 673A. The researchers used a mouse model of ovarian cancer to test a combination treatment of chemotherapy and 673A. Compared to just chemo on its own, the combination treatment significantly increased survival rates. The stem-like ovarian cancer cells are able to survive a normal bout of chemotherapy. In fact, only eleven of these stem-like cells are necessary in order for a new tumor to appear.
673A targets a critical pathway called ALDH that the ovarian cancer stem cells use to get rid of toxins that they release as a result of their fast rate of replication. After six months, 60 percent of mice treated with the combination were cancer free compared to just 10 percent that received chemo. 673A also did not have any toxic side effects. The experimental therapy was also useful against tumors that had developed resistance to chemotherapy.
This study was first published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.