More than 90 percent of women diagnosed at an early stage of ovarian cancer survive longer than five years, compared with just 18 percent who are diagnosed at stage 4. But only 20 percent of cases are discovered early.
Most cases of ovarian cancer are found at later stages not only because early-stage ovarian cancer is often asymptomatic but also because highly effective screening tests don’t exist.
It is difficult for physicians to feel early-stage ovarian tumors, and Pap or HPV tests don’t typically detect ovarian cancer. Transvaginal ultrasounds can identify ovarian tumors, but they can’t determine if they are cancer.
A blood test that measures levels of a protein, CA-125 is useful to gauge whether treatment is working in women with ovarian cancer, but it has not proved very effective as a screening test.
Temple Therapeutics wants to detect ovarian cancer sooner and more easily using new diagnostic tests designed to scan for biomarkers that indicate the presence of this disease. This method is advantageous because it is easily and quickly performed, requiring just a blood draw instead of a surgical biopsy.
We are developing technology to scan for these ovarian cancer biomarkers more accurately, as well as researching and discovering new biomarker targets not previously implicated in ovarian cancer. This simple screening test will facilitate earlier diagnosis, which will lead to earlier treatment, which in turn helps promote better outcomes for women like you.
Such noninvasive screening will benefit patients who do not fit the typical profile for ovarian cancer—such as patients who are younger than the standard demographic—and could decrease mortality, overall cost of treatment, and the amount of stress placed on patients, their loved ones, and their communities.
Temple is also developing drugs designed to treat ovarian cancer. When more options are available to treat any disease, doctors are better able to design treatment plans customized to suit each patient, resulting in better outcomes for patients.
Our non-invasive biomarker test, TTX335Dx, is a blood test specially designed to detect ovarian tumors at earlier stages. It represents a novel target using blood-based biomarkers present at earlier and late stages of ovarian cancer. By late 2022, this screening test will have been applied to about 500 ovarian cancer patients.
Our novel small molecule treatment in development, TTX335o, has succeeded in shrinking ovarian tumors in early in vivo trials. The drug has proven safe in animal models, causing minimal toxicity in healthy ovarian cells while attacking cancer cells. It targets an antigen on tumor cells that overrides the body’s attempt to kill the diseased cell, allowing the tumor to grow. TTX335o disables this antigen, allowing the body to kill the harmful cells.
The drug has even shown potential to treat various other forms of cancer and could represent a breakthrough in oncology therapeutics. It is also a much-needed alternative to conventional immuno-oncology drugs and platinum treatments and could be used to treat cancers resistant to these therapies.