This month, we achieved a recruitment milestone in the DECIDER project: 400 ovarian cancer patients are now part of the DECIDER trial at the Turku University Hospital in Finland! This was made possible by our dedicated clinical team in Turku, that consists of medical doctors, study nurses, and biologists. They are all very experienced in the recruitment of new patients for the DECIDER study as well as in sample collection and preparation.
“Although most patients respond well to chemotherapy, unfortunately the disease often relapses,” says Adj. Prof. Dr. Johanna Hynninen, Clinical leader of the DECIDER project from the Turku University Hospital. “One reason may be the heterogeneity of the tumour; some parts of the tumour are drug-sensitive, others grow aggressively despite treatment. When a patient comes in for surgery, we take samples from several tumour sites, so that we can study the differences between them. Additionally, changes throughout the disease are monitored through blood samples, which can also give information about the genetics of the tumour.”
The prospective collection of tumour tissue and blood plasma samples from high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) patients is the basis for all our work in the DECIDER project. Also, patient who participated in our earlier EU project HERCULES are now part of the DECIDER cohort. The samples collected in Turku are used to investigate the molecular mechanisms causing chemoresistance in HGSC patients. With the aid of artificial Intelligence -powered tools and methods we aim to personalise and improve treatment options.
The DECIDER cohort is already large by international standards and contains high quality longitudinal samples. But the work in the DECIDER project is far from over: we will continue to collect samples throughout the whole project to work towards our goal and to better understand this complex cancer type. Cancer research is long-term, and it takes time to get results. But with our unique and large cohort and the wide expertise in our consortium, we are in an optimal position to make a real impact.