There is new hope for women around the world, with the launch of an early detection test for ovarian cancer, and two Victorian women have become the first test recipients.
The test, developed in Melbourne by HealthLinx scientists in collaboration with ARL Pathology, is called the OvPlex™ Panel and works by identifying whether five biomarkers (proteins) are present in a blood sample.
Chairman of HealthLinx Limited (ASX-HTX), Professor Greg Rice, who helped develop the technology, said: “OvPlex™ is a new type of blood test. The difference between current blood tests and OvPlex™ is that OvPlex™ measures five different substances in blood that are associated with ovarian cancer and builds a diagnostic based on that information rather than relying on a single marker for the disease. This is really what I see as a new generation of diagnostics.”
CEO of ARL Pathology, Pam Davey, said: “Women all around the world will benefit from this. This test has not been available. By putting the five biomarkers together, we really increase the chances of detecting ovarian cancer early.”
1500 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year; 800 of those women will die. Around the world, 230,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, with more than 142,000 women dying.
Professor Rice said “The reason why it is the most lethal of the reproductive tract cancers is that 75 per cent of women with ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until late stage disease. Their chances of surviving five years are probably only 20 per cent. But if the disease is diagnosed at early stage, where it is contained within the ovary, the chance of surviving five years rises to eighty per cent.”
“That is why it is so important to try and develop better tests for diagnosing ovarian cancer, particularly early stage disease. That is where we can really make a difference.”
HealthLinx scientists stress this is not a general community screening test, rather a diagnostic test.
The test will be available through general practitioners in Melbourne from 29th October, before being rolled out to other states across Australia. It will cost around $200 and results are available within a fortnight.