Dr Manuela Mura works as a research associate at our Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre trying to beat ovarian cancer. We find out more about her work...
Why did you choose to research ovarian cancer?
Working in medical research is a privilege because we have the opportunity to change people’s lives for the better.
Unfortunately, improvements in clinical outcome with current treatments for ovarian cancer have been very slow to progress in recent years, especially when compared with other types of cancer.
This is a challenge, and at the same time, a strong driving force for me. One day, I hope my work will contribute to ways in which ovarian cancer can be cured, or at the very least to be tolerated without compromising quality of life.
What's your vision for the future of ovarian cancer treatment?
I believe the key to success lies in focusing on new biomarkers that will allow women to be diagnosed earlier.
These new biomarkers will also allow us to predict how women respond to chemotherapy.
We urgently need to identify and categorise new targets that can personalise therapy to treat chemoresistance in ovarian cancer that comes back.
By connecting with teams working on different aspects of the disease and building these networks, we can share knowledge that will facilitate the potential for new breakthroughs.
There is still a lot to do but I believe a credible and effective answer is out there.
What keeps you motivated on a hard day?
I have some very exciting days when a great result comes, and many days when things don’t work quite the way I expected, despite all the hard work – those days are the difficult ones.
We regularly welcome visitors to our Tribute Wall in the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, who come to commemorate their loved ones and also chat with us about our work, what we do and why.
This connection can be very emotional and also provide a real life perspective, which reminds us both of the cause and objectives we have set ourselves.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working to understand how the creation of proteins fuels cancer cells to become more aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.
I hope that by better understanding this mechanism of action one day we can develop a new treatment for ovarian cancer.