In 2017, the AGCF awarded their first Research Fellowship to an outstanding research project that will have a huge impact in the field of gynaecological cancer research and prevention.
The Way in Network helped fund this fellowship and the project was titled: Genetic profiling of women with low-grade serious ovarian cancer by Dr Dane Cheasley.
His research project focused on the genomic analysis of ovarian cancer patients with low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSOC) – a subtype that tends to occur in younger women and does not respond to current standard chemotherapy.
Now at the end of his two-years of research, Dr Dane Cheasley updates us on the outcomes of his project and what it has meant to him personally as well as the countless women he is helping.
“I would like to gratefully thank everyone for supporting me over the last 2 years… together we have completed some amazing research with real clinical implications for this understudied group.”
200,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer world-wide annually, and only 40% survive five years – a figure which has not changed significantly for decades. The current practise of treating ovarian cancer as a single disease has been a barrier to improvement in outcomes.
Just one of Dane’s amazing achievements was undertaking the largest molecular analysis of LGSOC to date. From there, he has now identified a large number of clinically actionable targets to assist women in the remaining 60% of cases.
“We now understand that there are multiple distinct subtypes of ovarian cancer that vary considerably in their biological behaviour and response to standard chemotherapy, requiring a more nuanced approach to care.”
Data generated from this research project has also opened up the arena for Dane to apply for extended funding on combination drug screening for women with this disease as they have identified drug candidates that could be tested.
In the last 6 months, Dane was also invited to present his research at the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group annual scientific meeting in Sydney and the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago USA.
“Presenting my work in the USA gave me the opportunity to meet with an expert in the low-grade serous ovarian cancer field, Professor Mark Carey, and we are now collaborating on a research paper with data generated from this fellowship.”
Dane is also teaming up with 2018 Cindy Sullivan Fellowship recipient, Dr Aime Powell, after meeting through the AGCF. They are supervising a PhD research student on a project centred on health economics for women with gynaecological malignancies in Western Australia.
As Dane continues his research, he keeps the women he is helping in mind. Recently, women with LGSOC were asked to write a message of support for the research Dane has undertaken.
Here are just some of the thank you messages he received:
“I have young children and a family that need me! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving us HOPE!”
“Thank you so much for working so hard to try and find a cure for low grade ovarian cancer. It’s amazing to know you’re there fighting for us.”
“Thank you for researching low grade serous carcinoma. I was just diagnosed in May. It is daunting to know the statistics for this cancer, but it is uplifting to know that there are people like you who are making a difference. Thank you!”
We thank Dane for his incredible work and can’t wait to see where his research leads him next.