Ovarian cancer research: a new perspective and a great example of the impact of medical research charities on science

I do not normally devote the front page of my blog to the day job but on this occasion I hope you will agree that the news merits it.

Today Nature Reviews Cancer have published online in their October 2011 issue a perspective piece entitled ‘Rethinking ovarian cancer.’  The article, co-authored by the leading international scientists in the field, sets out a nine-point action plan for research into ovarian cancer.  A lay summary of the article together with Ovarian Cancer Action’s news relase can be found on our website.

These days with a daily stream of news stories about ‘breakthroughs’ and advances it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff in determining what really matters. 

But this opinon piece really does.  Why? Because it represents a consensus of the top minds, challenges established thinking, provides a clear direction for future scientific efforts and is a strong call for action to the community to collaborate more.  It also puts ‘quality of life’ issues for women with ovarian cancer side-by-side with the pursuit of  the science as  a priority for the future.

I’ll let you read the various documents linked-to above which include quotes from the lead authors Professors Fran Balkwill and David Bowtell to learn more.  But I will add a further reflection which seems appropriate to these pages and the recurrent themes of this blog

This consensus article about ovarian cancer research stems from the 12th International Helene Harris Memorial Trust (HHMT) meeting held in January this year.  That meeting was organised by Ovarian Cancer Action and brought together the top scientists from around the world. It demonstrates the impact that medical research charities, even with limited resources at their disposal, can have in bringing people together and moving the agenda forward.

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