Adaptive therapy treatment ovarian cancer patients - Barts Charity

Adaptive therapy treatment for ovarian cancer patients

Barts Charity has awarded nearly £500,000 to investigate adaptive therapy, a personalised approach to ovarian cancer treatment .

  • Date: March 15, 2022

Ovarian cancer diagnosis

We’ve awarded Dr Michelle Lockley of Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, nearly £500,000 to investigate adaptive therapy, a new personalised treatment approach for ovarian cancer.

On average, 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, one of the most common types of cancer in women. The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of a positive outcome. But often it’s not recognised until it’s already spread and a successful treatment is not possible. While ovarian cancer survival is improving, far too many women still lose their lives within 10 years of diagnosis.

For Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Dr Lockley answered questions about ovarian cancer. She shared information on screening, risk, diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Michelle Lockley of Barts Cancer Institute investigating adaptive therapy

Adaptive therapy – a new treatment approach

The new treatment approach for ovarian cancer, called adaptive therapy, will benefit 3,000 patients every year over the next three years.

Adaptive therapy (AT) is a novel, personalised treatment strategy in which drug doses are tailored for individual patients to prevent drug resistance. Drug-resistant cancer cells usually grow more slowly than their drug-sensitive counterparts, these are cancer cells that are responsive to the drugs. This clinical trial plans to exploit this slow growth weakness of drug-resistant cancer cells by prescribing periods without drugs.

Clinical experience shows that when cancers relapse, repeated treatment with the same therapy is less effective. Adaptive therapy could significantly benefit patients by prolonging drug-sensitivity and extending tumour control. At the same time this treatment approach could reduce chemotherapy dose and the negative effects of cancer drugs on the body.

“This strategy could transform cancer care: patients would receive fewer drugs, less often, and live longer with fewer treatment-related side effects,” says Dr Lockley. “The research aims to address the unmet need of therapy resistance. To maximise future public health gains, it is crucial that we learn from the patients that participate in this study.”

"This strategy could transform cancer care: patients would receive fewer drugs, less often, and live longer with fewer treatment-related side effects."
Dr Michelle Lockley, Honorary Consultant Oncologist at Barts Cancer Institute

A UK first clinical trial for patients

This is the first adaptive therapy clinical trial for UK cancer patients and the first global experience testing adaptive therapy in high grade serious ovarian cancer (HGSOC), which is among the most fatal forms of all cancers.

This unique clinical trial approach may lead to more effective personalised treatments for patients with ovarian cancer.

The discoveries here will be generalisable and have the potential to radically redefine anti-cancer therapy and improve survival of patients receiving treatment for multiple cancer types. Not only ovarian cancer.

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