DR TRACY O’MARA
DR TRACY O'MARA
Success: Research into endometrial cancer has gone from strength to strength over the last decade, despite the devastating statistics surrounding the cancer type.
Cancer Type: GYNAECOLOGICAL CANCER
Funded by our principal supporter, The Can Too Foundation, 2018 & 2019
Dr Tracy O’Mara’s research into endometrial cancer (cancer affecting the uterus) has gone from strength to strength over the last decade, despite the devastating statistics surrounding the cancer type. “Endometrial cancer cases are rapidly increasing in Australia and globally, with increased incidence rates of endometrial cancer reported in 26 of 43 countries assessed. Unlike many cancer types, the death of women from endometrial cancer has increased by approximately 2% each year since 2008.”
“Ten years ago, I was part of the team that performed the first large-scale genetic study of endometrial cancer, identifying a particular genetic sequence that increases a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer. One of my proudest moments was being selected in 2017 to take over leadership of this team, which consists of studies from across Australia, Europe and the USA. Following this, I led the largest genetic study of endometrial cancer, finding 16 genetic sequences which increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer. Through this work, we now have a better understanding of how genetics affect endometrial cancer risk.”
Cure Cancer funding has enabled Tracy to continue this ground-breaking research. “This was the largest study of this kind ever performed, with genetic data from over 30,000 women with cancer included. From this work, I was able to find eleven different genetic sequences that affect a woman’s risk of both endometrial and ovarian cancer.”
In 2020, Tracy received a 5-year NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) Investigator Fellowship to continue her research of endometrial cancer. She and her team are investigating endometrial cancer drug treatments, factors affecting an endometrial cancer risk and using genetics to predict a women’s risk of developing endometrial cancer.
"My research is important because in the last several decades, only two drugs have been approved for endometrial cancer treatment. While there are more treatment options available for ovarian cancer, patient prognosis is still very poor. Moreover, most drugs fail during development. However, evidence suggests that drugs that act on targets found by genetic analysis (such as my studies) are more likely to be successful for patient treatment."
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