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Newly discovered protein could drastically improve ovarian cancer survival rates

  • Research from the University of Hull targets ovarian cancer survival rates.
  • Early detection in stage 1 of ovarian cancer could see survival rates increase from 20% to around 90%.* The protein can be detected in early disease stage, leading to earlier diagnosis, and was revealed as part of the British Science Festival this week.

Early detection and diagnosis can greatly increase the chances of survival when it comes to cancer, but some forms of the disease are more difficult to identify during the early stages. Dr Barbara Guinn, a researcher at the University of Hull, has led a research programme that has identified a biomarker that has the potential to make such a diagnosis much easier in one specific form of cancer.

Dr Guinn’s work researching biomarkers able to be used to diagnose ovarian cancer is yet to be published but has yielded positive results.

Dr Guinn said: “The majority of diagnoses for ovarian cancer come during stage three, when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, which has a direct impact on the chances of patients’ surviving.”

It has previously been found that proteins can act as biomarkers, which help diagnose diseases earlier, but this has not previously been a focus of research in detecting ovarian cancer. Dr Guinn’s research has found such a marker, which is elevated in patients with stage one and stage two ovarian cancer, allowing for much earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Early detection and diagnosis in cancer cases can have a huge impact on survival rates. Dr Guinn said: “A stage three diagnosis can mean survival rates as low as 20%, but with early detection, that can be increased dramatically to around 90%.”

The next stage of Dr Guinn’s research is to examine whether this marker is secreted into urine. If so, this would make a simple test, similar to a pregnancy test, a possibility.

Dr Guinn’s talk Vaccines For Cancer as part of the British Science Festival will look at the developments in cancer treatment in recent years and her work to develop a vaccine to prevent people from relapsing with cancer, and ultimately saving lives.The talk takes place on Thursday at 2pm in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Allam Medical Building.

The Festival is taking place from 11-14 September in Hull & the Humber and provides an opportunity to meet researchers face-to-face and discuss the latest science, technology and engineering. This year’s event is hosted by the University of Hull and supported by Ørsted and RB.

All tickets are free, but space for some events is limited and booking is recommended:

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