Breast, womb, ovarian and cervical cancers represent up to 47% of all cancers in women and some of them have a 5-year survival rate of less than 40%.
The Eve Appeal funds research with labs across the world working together towards the shared goal of preventing gynaecological cancers. Eve funded researcher, Prof Martin Widschwendter, leads the Women’s Cancer Department at University College London and has dedicated his career to determining and accurately monitoring a woman’s risk of developing these four cancers and how that risk can be reduced.
Prof Widschwendter and The Eve Appeal’s shared strategy for preventing gynaecological cancers – vision 2040 – identifies four key unmet needs: to understand, detect, predict and prevent cancer. His research team is working on several large-scale projects that aim to address these unmet needs.
Understand: BRCA-PROTECT and BRCA-UNITE are programmes funded by The Eve Appeal that aim to eradicate BRCA related ovarian and breast cancers. Women who have inherited a BRCA1/2 mutation are at a high risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer and currently these women can only choose between preventive surgery at a young age (removal of these organs) or proactively looking for early signs of cancer, catching it early and going through treatment.
The majority of previous research focused on cancers that had already developed rather than on understanding its causes. We are expanding our research clinic to include more women, with and without a BRCA mutation, who have not yet developed cancer so that we can study cancer’s key triggers.
Detect: FemCare4Me will aim to develop a screening test to detect ovarian cancer in its very early stages. From previous research which was funded by the European Union (FP7 EpiFemCare), we know that a blood test is most likely the best option. The study will look for known markers in DNA to detect early signs of ovarian cancer in blood.
Predict: FORECEE (4C) is a collaboration of scientists from across the UK and Europe, funded by the European Commission and The Eve Appeal, who are developing a screening test to predict a woman’s risk of developing four cancers- breast, womb, ovarian, and cervical.
The programme is developing one test, which will use cells collected during cervical screening in order to predict the development of breast, womb, ovarian and cervical cancer and track this risk over time. It is the first study of its kind and has the potential to save thousands of lives.
Prevent: BRCA-ERC is looking to better understand the changes to women’s hormones, vaginal microbiome (‘good’ bacteria in the vagina), metabolism, and changes to the immune system if they are a carrier of a BRCA mutation. BRCA-ERC will also study non-surgical ways to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA-ERC is funded by the European Commission, through a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant, and The Eve Appeal. A second study, BRCA PREVEND, is also looking for new non-surgical strategies for reducing cancer risk. The study is looking for new drug targets as well as whether currently available drugs have beneficial effects on tissues in the breast and ovaries where cancer develops.
Join us and Prof Widschwendter in working towards a future where fewer women are diagnosed with and many more women survive gynaecological cancers by giving a one off or regular gift, donate today.