At the start of February 2019 over twenty influential researchers gathered to discuss low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) in Miami. The meeting was generously funded by a patient of Dr Slomovitz from the University of Miami, the Dwoskin Charitable Trust Foundation and the O’Bryan GYN Precision Medical Initiative Fund. We had the privilege of receiving an invitation*.
The conference was an exciting development for low-grade serous ovarian cancer research for several reasons. It was the first ever meeting focused solely on LGSOC. It brought some of the best and brightest international researchers together. And for many it was the first time they had met in person.
Canadian researchers Dr Mark Carey and Dr David Huntsman from Vancouver; and Dr Taymaa May and Dr Allan Covens from Toronto were in attendance.
The LGSOC research community is small. But because of this it attracts some talented and persistent individuals. Researchers who are primarily motivated by a desire to improve the lives of women with LGSOC. Researchers who are willing to share their knowledge and work together. Researchers who enjoy solving difficult problems.
One researcher summed it up nicely. He said that in some cancers it is easy to be arrogant because the survival is already very good. But with low grade serous ovarian cancer it is very humbling. You have to always think about how you can do things better.
Researchers discussed their latest research findings and strategised promising areas of future research. One particular area of discussion focused on drug combinations. Researchers think adding another medication to existing medication could improve outcomes. Researchers also discussed how to apply recent successes of other cancers to LGSOC.
Another important part of the meeting focused on ways to get more funding. Traditional research funding avenues often focus on impact. This means less common cancers like LGSOC, which affects 1 in 1000 women, are often overlooked. More common cancers with better survival receive a disproportionate share of funding.
Your support can make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of women. There has been incredible progress in other cancers in recent years. Help us help them apply this knowledge to low grade serous ovarian cancer with life-saving research.
*Cure Our Ovarian Cancer Trustee Jane Ludemann privately funded her own travel costs.