Doctoral fellow - Unit for Translational Research in Oncology/The Department of Diagnostic Sciences – UGent - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Principal Investigators: prof. Steven Goossens (PhD)
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all gynecological malignancies. First symptoms are usually non-specific, and as a result ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Despite a good response to the first-line treatment, approximately 80% of patients will relapse in the first five years. As such, there is a high unmet clinical need for new therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome of these patients. In the past, bacterial L-asparaginases have been shown to be effective in 15 - 25% of ovarian cancers. However, the used formulations were poorly tolerated in patients after which further investigation for the use of asparaginases in advanced ovarian cancer was terminated.
We have generated an alternative mammalian-derived L-asparaginase variant, which has a significantly improved safety and toxicity profile compared to the standard-of-care bacterial L-asparaginases. Through biomarker analysis, we want to characterize the subgroup of ovarian cancer patients that are sensitive to asparaginase therapy. A variety of preclinical patient-derived models will then be used to evaluate the efficacy of this alternative variant, both ex vivo and in vivo. Altogether, with this new asparaginase variant, we hope to revive clinical trials and eventually provide extra therapeutic opportunities for ovarian cancer patients.