Clinical trial to target ovarian and breast cancers

19 Nov 2014

The Australian first Women’s Health, Creating Changetrial will focus on women’s reproductive cancers, such as ovarian, breast and endometrial cancer.

Researchers from the UQ Centre for Clinical Research will target metabolic pathways used by cancer cells to create energy to grow.

Led by PhD student Julie van Eps, whose mother died from breast cancer in 2008, the trial will evaluate the effects of nutritional treatments that target these pathways.

“With the World Health Organisation estimating that 21.4 million people globally will be diagnosed with cancer by 2030, a fresh approach to cancer treatment that targets the underlying cause is warranted,” Ms van Eps said.

“The study focuses on the connections between diet and how our genes are controlled, which can cause disease in people.

“Cancer has been recognised as a metabolic disease for many years, however limited trials have been done that focus on metabolic disturbances that lead to cancer.”

Previous studies have shown that a deficiency in vital nutrients, such as selenium and folate, can disrupt the body’s metabolism and lead to the development of cancer.

Ms van Eps said essential nutrients from food played an important role in regulating key metabolic pathways.

“These pathways control how our genes function and affect our health, which means these vital nutrients can act as switches that can turn diseases such as cancer on or off,” she said.

Researchers hope the clinical trial will have a profound impact on cancer research in Australia, as well as on the lives of the thousands of women diagnosed with reproductive cancers.

The trial, planned for 2015, needs extra funding.

To donate, visit UQ Giving and click on the tab Women’s Health and Ovarian Cancer Research, or contact Kate Sullivan on 07 3346 6041, 0421 819 807 or

Media: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Marketing Communications Officer Kate Sullivan, 07 3346 6041, 0421 819 807 or