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Investigation into the role of autophagy in the recurrence of Ovarian Cancer

Posted on: 13 Mar 2020

Investigation into the role of autophagy in the recurrence of Ovarian Cancer

Researcher: Jennifer Quinn

Start year: 2019

Principal Investigators: Dr Sharon McKenna

Host Institution: University College Cork

Cancer type: Ovarian

Linked Breakthrough Research Priorities: 1, 4, 6

This team are investigating a novel aspect of cancer biology with the potential to improve ovarian patient outcomes.  A major challenge in the clinical management of Ovarian Cancer is the high rate of disease recurrence. Approximately 80% of women whom exhibit an excellent response to first line therapy will present again with recurrent disease.  Response to second line & subsequent therapies is often sub-optimal and thus overall 5 year survival remains at 40%.  There is therefore an urgent need to develop new approaches to treat both primary and recurrent ovarian cancer.

Ms Jennifer Quinn has been investigating resistance and recurrence mechanisms in ovarian cancer cells for 3 years as part of a BCR PhD Scholarship.  During her Scholarship she investigated whether a recycling process within cancer cells (called Autophagy) can help these cells to recover from chemotherapy. Her work to date has that autophagy is involved in the ability of ovarian cancer cells to recover after treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs. She has also shown either genetic or pharmacological changes to the autophagy process can reduce the recovery of ovarian cancer cells following chemotherapy.

This new research project should further improve our understanding and advance the possibility of a clinical trial with ovarian cancer patients.

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