Medical Breakthrough: Ovarian Cancer Cure?

Tuesday, September 14th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is not the most common cancer in women, but it is one of the most deadly because of its high rate of recurrence after treatment. Researchers are now a step closer to stopping the spread of ovarian cancer.

Sherry Garness has ovarian cancer. Dr. Kimberly Kalli is trying to stop it. Although they don't know one another, both women are fighting ovarian cancer.
Garness says, "My treatment was first a total hysterectomy, and then I went through chemotherapy." Dr. Kalli, a cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says, "Ovarian cancer is so difficult to treat because so often it does recur." Both of them are winning the battle. Garness with her attitude, "I'm doing wonderful. I'm doing beautiful," and Dr. Kalli in a Mayo Clinic lab.

Dr. Kalli's studies show, for the first time, there's a drug that can destroy human ovarian cancer cells. It's called fenretinide. She tested it on tumor cells collected from women with aggressive ovarian cancer. Shown at the bottom of the page are the tumor cells grown normally and the same cells treated with fenretinide. Ninety percent of the cells stopped growing. "This is an indication that fenretinide is preventing the ovarian cancer from growing," explains Dr. Kalli.

Based in part on Dr. Kalli's research, the National Cancer Institute recently recommended fenretinide be tested in patients. Until it or another medicine improves the odds, the battle continues. Garness says, "I feel like I count my blessings more now. I'm very grateful for every day that I have." Dr. Kalli says fenretinide was first studied in the 1970s to prevent breast cancer. It's taken in pill form, and doctors say it has fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy medicines.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Linda Copeland Communications
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
200 1st Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905
(507) 538-0834