Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in North America. According to the Statistics Canada, 2,800 Canadian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017 and 1,800 died from the disease.

Dr. Francis Rodier, researcher recipient of a Cancer Research Society Operating Grant and his colleague Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, both researchers at the CRCHUM and professors at the Université de Montréal, discovered a way to outsmart the most common and lethal type of ovarian cancer: ovarian epithelial cancer. Their “one two punch” approach causes cancer cells death by keeping them from repairing their DNA and proliferating.

“In the case of epithelial ovarian cancer, we act in two stages. First, we force the cancer cells to age prematurely which stops them from proliferating. This is the first therapeutic punch. We then throw our second punch to destroy and eliminate them. This strategy requires excellent coordination of the two steps,” explained Francis Rodier
“Our approach could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and counteract the systematic resistance that develops with this treatment,” said Anne-Marie Mes-Masson.

Published in the prestigious Nature Communications journal, the one-two punch approach has also been tested on ovarian and breast cancers preclinical models, which validated its effectiveness. The results of this study will be used to propose clinical trials for further testing to evaluate its impact in the presence of the immune response among other things.

On behalf of its donors and collaborators, the Cancer Research Society sends it warmest congratulations to Dr. Rodier and Dr. Mes-Masson for this exceptional work.

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