The Eve Appeal launched a new research clinic at University College London Hospital (UCLH) in November 2015 – BRCA PROTECT – with the aim to develop interventions with the potential to revolutionise the lives of women with a genetic mutation; leading to improvements in predicting the risk for and prevention of developing ovarian and breast cancer in the UK.
Inspiration for the clinic comes from the great strides made over the last few decades in cardiovascular medicine. A greater understanding of the causes of heart disease has allowed preventative action to be taken so that now fewer people develop heart disease. As a result mortality from heart disease has decreased by 50%. Over the same period, mortality from ovarian cancer has only decreased by 3% – a key problem which the new research clinic is hoping to address.
Professor Martin Widschwendter, Head of Department of Women’s Cancer at University College London said, “In order to make a substantial change to the understanding of women’s cancer, we must begin to understand why and how women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation develop ovarian and breast cancer. This will then allow us to develop methods of preventing these cancers, so that the women at risk no longer need to have surgery to remove their breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes”
“Our ambition is to identify the key mechanisms of cancer development and understand its causes, then we will be able to test potential ways of preventing these cancers from developing in the first instance.”
That’s why the research clinic is a very exciting and novel way of developing the most effective and efficient mechanisms to decode women’s cancers. It is crucial to fully understand the role that genetic mutations can play in the early development of these cancers; and how best we can protect women in the future without the need for invasive surgery.
Caroline Presho said: “I carry a BRCA2 mutation and have undergone risk-reducing breast surgery and have also had my ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed to lower my risk of cancer. This study is important to the high-risk community and women in the general population, because it means we may not have to undergo such drastic surgeries in the future.”
The clinic are currently recruiting women from a variety of backgrounds to participate in this ground-breaking research, including women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Additionally, they are seeking their mothers, sisters, daughters and female cousins who have tested negative for the gene mutation, as well as women from the general population. Women’s contribution is absolutely vital if they are to understand who is at risk from these deadly cancers.
All of their work is underpinned by the generosity of hundreds of volunteers. They hope that many of you will come forward to join them in this effort. If you would like to join BRCA PROTECT, please register your interest by calling the BRCA PROTECT Research Clinic on 020 3447 2125, getting in touch via email or by making an appointment here.