An Oxford-based ovarian cancer specialist has published a paper outlining a new classification which categorises different subtypes of cells and determines which ones can lead to more severe cancer outcomes.
This approach, dubbed the ‘Oxford Classification of Carcinoma of the Ovary’ or ‘Oxford Classic’ for short, was developed by Professor Ahmed Ahmed, who is supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
In 2020, using single cell RNA sequencing, Prof Ahmed’s team made a breakthrough by identifying new types of fallopian tube cells that are the cells of origin for the majority of ovarian cancers.
They showed that that the types of these newly-discovered non-cancer cells are ‘mirrored’ into different ovarian cancer subtypes. These subtypes correlated well with survival.
Discovering the new subtypes of cells has allowed the Oxford researchers to classify and categorise tumours based on their origin in the body, and determine which ones can lead to more severe cancer outcomes.
This Oxford Classic approach will provide much more accurate predictions for disease outcome in patients, as well as helping researchers to develop targeted therapies for each type of cancer
Prof Ahmed, of the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health and Director of the Ovarian Cancer Cell Laboratory at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, has how published a paper in collaboration with Imperial College demonstrating the applications of the Oxford Classic approach, as well as shedding light on some previously unknown information about ovarian cancers.
Prof Ahmed said: “Our group is very excited that we were able to confirm the predictive role of the Oxford Classic. This work highlights that it is now important to identify new personalised therapies for the Oxford Classic-defined EMT-high ovarian cancer subtype.
“The finding that there is a strong connection with abundant M2 Macrophages already offers a good hint as to where we could find good treatment options for patients with this type.”
Read more via the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre.