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Ovarian Cancer Action on AARC: An exciting time for Ovarian Cancer Research

13 October 2023

Boston AACR

Our Grants and Impacts Manager, Faye, travelled to Boston to meet with and hear from the global voices in ovarian cancer research at a conference run by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Faye talks through her time at the conference, the key speakers and meeting other charities with a united purpose.

Last week I went to the AACR Special Conference in Cancer Research: Ovarian Cancer in the vibrant city of Boston. 

Attended by leading experts, the conference provides a platform for critical insights into the latest developments in the ovarian cancer research field. Covering a broad spectrum of research from prevention and early detection to epigenetics, immunology and the tumour microenvironment.

The tone of the event couldn’t have been better captured than from a quote from past OCA HHMT traveling fellow Professor Katherine Chiapanelli “It’s an exciting time for ovarian cancer research – it's really moving right now”.


Professor David Bowtell’s opening keynote “Placing our bets to make a difference” addressed the three pivotal areas that have shaped the recent advancements in ovarian cancer research: 

  • Identifying and Managing Genetic Risk: The ability to identify individuals at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer is a game-changer. By pinpointing these genetic markers, researchers can develop personalized prevention and early detection strategies.
  • PARPi Maintenance for BRCA Carriers: Maintenance therapy with PARP inhibitors after the first line of treatment has emerged as a promising approach. This treatment could significantly improve outcomes for BRCA mutation carriers.
  • Improved Understanding of Ovarian Cancer Subtypes: Classification and a deeper understanding of ovarian cancer subtypes and their underlying biology are unveiling opportunities for tailored treatment approaches.

Despite these recent advancements in the ovarian cancer research field, we still need better ways to prevent, detect and treat ovarian cancers. International meetings like this are critical to addressing that need. A common theme throughout the conference, the “bench to bedside approach” will help move us towards this, making sure that all researchers are thinking about how their work can be translated into patient benefit. 

Highlighting the great work at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre

It was great to see Ovarian Cancer Action funded researcher, Dr Zhao Cheng from our Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre based at Imperial College London, presenting her latest research at the event. Zhao’s project is looking at how healthy cells turn into ovarian cancer over time, which could help predict the trajectory of cancer early on. This could have implications for early detection methods and therapeutic strategies for ovarian cancer.

Meeting other global ovarian cancer charities

Faye and Amy

The highlight of the trip was meeting Amy Wilson who is the Research Advisor from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) in Australia. International events like this are a great opportunity to meet with other global charities who share the same aim - helping more women survive ovarian cancer. OCRF is similar in size to Ovarian Cancer Action and equally ambitious. 

We talked about our shared passion for our similar roles, importance of patient involvement in research and potential opportunities of how we could collaborate in the future to have more impact.