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Research Into Cancer Of The Uterus Given Big Boost

Media Release
10 November 2003

Research Into Cancer Of The Uterus Given Big Boost

Research into endometrial cancer has been given extra impetus with the annoucement of a $60,000 grant for researchers at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University. The grant is one of six announced today by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, worth a total of $270,000.

Endometrial Cancer, or cancer of the lining of the uterus, is the commonest gynaecological cancer in New Zealand and most of the developed world. It’s prevalence is predicted to markedly increase in the next decade. Although most women are cured by hysterectomy, many are not. In fact death from endometrial cancer is now more common than death from cervical cancer.

“There is now a pressing need for the development of further therapeutic agents for women with this disease,” says Gynaecological Cancer Specialist, Dr Peter Sykes one of the principal investigators, along with research scientist Associate Professor John Evans.

This research will study substances which lead to the formation of blood vessels in cancer in the uterus. Tumours must have new blood vessels to develop, and researchers world wide are looking at ways of blocking this vessel growth and the supply of nutrients to cancers The School of Medicine researchers will also study the effects of female hormones and oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on cancer tissues, which will increase understanding of the development of cancer of the uterus and provide leads to better treatment.

The research team at the School, led by Professor Evans and Dr Sykes, will collaborate with other national and international researchers exploring the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) which feed tumours, genetic factors and clinical management of endometrial cancer.

This project has a high priority because this cancer is common and poorly researched, and the investigation team has an approach based on a possible new strategy for treatment.


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