We use non-essential cookies (including anonymous analytics) to help us understand if our website is working well and to learn what content is most useful to visitors. We also use some cookies which are essential for our platform to work and help us to provide you with the best experience possible. You can accept or reject our non-essential cookies and change your mind at any time. To learn more, please read our cookies policy.

Update cookie preferences



Lead researchers: Professor Iain McNeish and Dr James Brenton

Where: Glasgow Clinical Trials UnitThe Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and CRUK Cambridge Centre

Theme: Treatment

BriTROC-2 is a nationwide project to create new, personalised treatments for women diagnosed with High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (HGSOC). The team, co-led by Professor Iain McNeish and Dr James Brenton, know this next generation of tailored treatments will be just around the corner once we’ve learnt more about the disease.

The next generation of treatment

Personalised medicine is when treatment is customised and matched to the patient. Although HGSOC is one disease, two seemingly identical patients can respond well to different treatments. BriTROC-2’s goal is to give all HGSOC patients personalised care.

The original BriTROC project, led by the same team, discovered why this is: tiny genetic differences between ovarian cancer tumours can occur as cancer grows. And these differences explain why some cancers respond well, and others poorly, to certain treatments. Previously, these differences made ovarian cancer appear unpredictable and harder to treat. Now, Professor McNeish’s team can turn them to their advantage.

BriTROC scientists made this revelation while investigating how ovarian cancer changes over time. To do this, the project established a network of 14 research hubs around the UK to collect tissue samples from hundreds of relapsed cancer patients. This was a major step: it allowed BriTROC scientists to see patterns across more samples than ever before and meant other researchers now had the means to access and analyse these samples to make their own breakthroughs.

Seven clues for better treatment

BriTROC discovered that one of seven unique ‘signatures’ was being written into ovarian cancer’s DNA as it developed. Each signature, classified by a cluster of tiny genetic changes, offers a vital clue about how the patient should be treated.

Now, BriTROC-2 scientists are putting new samples under the microscope – to better understand these seven clues. By gathering information about the microscopic differences between cancers, underpinning a tumour’s response to treatment, doctors can move away from the ‘one-size-fits-all approach and give patients treatments that work.

Where are we now?

The majority of the centres across the UK taking part in the study have opened. They are on target for the number of patients recruited.