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Tackling Ovarian Cancer’s Most Urgent Unmet Need: Ten Years and Counting for One Research Team

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new method for prognosing ovarian cancer was recently described by researchers from the University of Utah. While I am particularly interested in precision medicine developments for ovarian cancer, as it is an especially under-served disease, I am not actually pointing out this development strictly for its positive connotations (positive though they are).

I am more concerned about what this new approach doesn’t do, and that is to provide an early screen for ovarian cancer. Almost 80% of ovarian cancer cases aren’t discovered until they have reached a late stage, and the average survival from diagnosis is 18 months. Early detection of all cancers is essential, and none more than ovarian cancer.

A group at ASU has just announced some promising biomarkers for early detection. According to the authors these biomarkers require significant additional validation, however, before a clinically useful test results.

The timeline to get where they are is also pretty remarkable. The researchers started with an initial list of 10,000 biomarkers, and after 10 years of research were able to winnow this down to a dozen biomarkers. The most recent work has brought the list down to three. This timeline certainly supports our recently reported statistic that it takes an average of 15 years for a biomarker to make the journey from discovery to the clinic.