SINGAPORE: A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has made a recent discovery that could lead to a new treatment strategy for patients suffering from advanced ovarian cancer.
In a media release on Wednesday (Nov 30), NUS said the team of scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) has identified a way to curb the aggressive spread of ovarian cancer called the Mes subtype, which currently has no specific treatment.
The team carried out experiments on Mes subtype ovarian cancer cells and its findings suggest that blocking a molecule called AXL could be an effective treatment option for patients.
Dr Ruby Huang, Principal Investigator at CSI Singapore, and her team found that AXL, when activated, was able to interact with other proteins in the cell to form a cellular pathway that contributes to the aggressive spread of ovarian cancer cells.
Dr Huang said: "This study builds upon our previous efforts in understanding the biology among different ovarian cancer subtypes, and the current finding represents an advancement into novel roles of AXL in ovarian cancer and brings another layer of sophistication in ovarian cancer treatment."
In Singapore, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women, and among females who were diagnosed with cancer between 2010 and 2014, five per cent had ovarian cancer.
According to NUS, ovarian cancer is the most deadly gynecological cancer and it is the seventh most common cancer in women worldwide. Most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at the advanced stage, which is more difficult to treat.