Women's Health

Ovarian Cancer: The Year in Review

Ovarian Cancer: The Year in Review

Ovarian cancer has become an increasingly dangerous condition in recent years, with patients often being exposed to lots of suffering and a relatively low survival rate. Doctors have worked tirelessly to try to find new ways of treating the condition in order to improve their patient's quality of life and boost survival rate from the condition.

This article will discuss some of the most important breakthroughs in ovarian cancer treatment made in 2017. These breakthroughs have to do with everything from detecting the disease to treating it for good.

Without further ado, here are some of the most important ovarian cancer breakthroughs of 2017:

Gene therapy

One particular problem that ovarian cancer patients have faced is the risk of the disease recurring even after treatment or regression. This usually occurs due to some tumors being resistant to chemotherapy, which unfortunately usually leads to recurrence of the disease which proves to be inevitably be fatal. Researchers at Harvard university believe that they have found a possible solution to this problem. These researchers have created an injection of a modified version of the Mullerian inhibiting substance (MIS). This is a protein that is known for being critical for sexual development, but researchers believe it could also be used to fight chemotherapy resistant tumors present in ovarian cancer patients. This modified version of MIS lead to tumor reduction and regression in a sample of mice used from the study, which could mean the injections could be used to fight these types of tumors in human patients.

The researchers also developed a way to screen patients to determine whether their tumors would respond to the modified version of MIS. Researchers also tested the new gene therapy on tumor cells from patients that did not respond to chemotherapy, and they found that 60% of those tumor cells responded to the treatment. Since there is currently no treatment available for chemical resistant ovarian cancer tumors, this breakthrough could be crucial in preventing recurring ovarian cancer and greatly reducing the amount of deaths caused by ovarian cancer.

The therapy is still in the preliminary stages of development, but we will hopefully begin to see more studies and implementation of the treatment in 2018.

Artificial ovary prototype

A very recent development in the world of ovarian cancer is the beginning of artificial ovary creation for ovarian cancer patients. One problem that many ovarian cancer patients have, even if they are survivors, is their ovaries will be damaged and they will be unable to have children. These artificial ovaries could solve that problem, as they could be transplanted to women who are infertile due to ovarian cancer or other health complications. 

The researchers use a certain protein that closely resembles the structure and rigidity of the natural tissues lining a woman's ovaries. One modern day practice that doctors sometimes use is extracting a woman's natural ovaries before chemotherapy and preserving them through cryopreservation.