Using an immune-based strategy to target Ovarian Cancer



Jamie Casey, PhD Student

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological malignancy. Ovarian cancer is typically diagnosed at a late stage, with 80% presenting at an advanced stage, as patients usually present with non-specific symptoms such as bloating and tiredness, which makes early-diagnosis difficult. Most patients undergo surgery and chemotherapy. For 70% of patients, the cancer returns, and the patient receives chemotherapy again. Eventually, the chemotherapy stops killing the cancer cells and this is called ‘drug resistance.’ These patients then face treatment with other drugs which have proven less successful in the clinic. A type of immunotherapy called Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs) heightens the activity of key immune cells, so that they become more effective at killing cancer cells. Clinical trials with ICIs are on-going for different cancer types including Ovarian cancer. We plan to test a novel drug combination which relies on the use of an ICI together with other drugs to find out if this reduces the growth of ovarian cancer cells. We also plan to examine how this drug combination impacts the activity of immune cells by taking blood samples from healthy donors and Ovarian cancer patients.

Start year
End year
Principal Investigator
Dr Marion Butler
Jamie Casey
Human Health Institute, Maynooth University
Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme with Breakthrough as the partner
Linked to Breakthrough Priorities
1, 2, 4, 6

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