Early detection and personalized treatment of ovarian cancer is definitely possible nowadays. The recent discoveries made by A*STAR scientists at Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and Bioinformatics Institute (BII) make this very much possible. Ovarian cancer is one of the predominant cancers that affects women and it ranks No.5 in the list of cancers that affect women in Singapore. Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed only at later stages when it is too late for treatment. Since treatment at such advanced stages is rarely successful, it results in high mortality rates.
Scientists from IMB, led by Dr Nick Barker, identified Lgr5, a biomarker of ovarian stem cells, which could help detect ovarian cancer early and thus allow treatment at such early stages. On another note, scientists from BII, led by Dr Vladimir A Kuznetsov, used bioinformatics analysis to identify genes which have undergone mutation in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HG-SOC). This analysis can be used for prognosis and development of personalized treatment for HG-SOC. The gene, Checkpoint Kinase 2 (CHEK2), has been identified as an effective prognostic marker of patient survival. HG-SOC patients with mutations in this gene succumbed to the disease within five years of diagnosis. Based on these findings, customized treatments for ovarian cancer can be developed over a period of time.
The original publications can be accessed at the following links: