The research we fund

We believe in taking action. And action is doing the research that will nail ovarian cancer once and for all.

We fund research at a dedicated Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre at Imperial College London and projects at other UK academic institutions.

The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre

The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre was founded in 2006 and is now home to 70 scientists. Led by Professor Iain McNeish, the team is made up of purely lab based scientists, and clinician scientists who both treat patients and run laboratory research.

Their work is collaborative and translational (which mean it aims to ‘translate’ directly into new medicines, procedures and diagnostic tools) with an emphasis placed on the importance of clinical trials.

Work done at the research centre falls into four themes:

  • Tumour development and progression: Understanding how tumours can be suppressed by harnessing the body’s protein OPCML
  • Precision medicine: Tailoring treatments to individuals, including new surgical techniques such as the ‘iknife’ which can detect cancerous cells in real time
  • Drug resistance: Understanding the complexities of ovarian cancer and how it becomes resistant to platinum chemotherapy
  • Risk and prevention: Researching how genetic risk screening can be implemented in primary care and in the clinic
Find out more about the scientists’ achievements in Meet the Scientists and download a copy of our leaflet The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre.

Personalised treatment, University of Oxford

We fund the work of Professor Ahmed Ahmed at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford.  Professor Ahmed’s work studies the molecular mechanisms that cause ovarian cancer cells to grow so that new targeted drugs can be used to improve women’s response to chemotherapy.  The team has also made significant discoveries in the field of early detection that could form the foundations of a screening tool.  


Ovarian cancer recurs in the majority of cases and at recurrence it becomes harder to treat. The cancer becomes resistant to platinum based chemotherapy. The BriTROC project links academic centres across the UK and is working with patients to collect tumour samples at first diagnosis and then at the point of recurrence. Over 200 ‘paired’ samples have been collected, which are available to all participating centres. The centres, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Cambridge are working collaboratively to use these samples to help understand changes in the cancer as it progresses and why it becomes resistant to chemotherapy. 

HHMT International Forum on Ovarian Cancer

Every four years Ovarian Cancer Action curates and hosts a conference of international ovarian cancer experts. The HHMT International Forum on Ovarian Cancer brings together scientists across all disciplines to debate and determine the priorities in ovarian cancer research. These are published in the important journal Nature Reviews Cancer. These priorities inform our own research objectives.  You can download the Nature Reviews Cancer 2015 article and lay summary here.  

You can read more about all of our research projects in our leaflet.

Scientific Advisory Board

A panel of international ovarian cancer experts give us impartial advice on the quality of the work we have funded and will fund in the future. Thank you to these scientists who support us as SAB members:

  • Dr Robert C. Bast, Jr., Chair, 
  • Vice President for Translational Research, 
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
  • Dr Jonathan Berek, Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Dr Michael Bookman, Director, Gynecologic Oncology Research Program, Arizona Oncology, The US Oncology Network
  • Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo, Head of MRC Immunology Unit, University of Oxford
  • Professor Barbara Goff, Gynecologic Oncology, University of Washington
  • Professor Adrian Harris, Director of Molecular Oncology Laboratories, University of Oxford
  • Professor Ian Hart, Emeritus Professor, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute
  • Dr Ernst Lengyel, Chair, Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, University of Chicago
  • Dr Elise Kohn, Head, Gynaecologic Cancer Therapeutics, National Cancer Institute (USA)
  • Dr Karen Lu, Professor in the Department of Gynaecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
  • Professor David Neal, Director of Research and Honorary Consultant in Surgical Uro-oncology, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Kenneth Nephew, Professor of Cellular & Integrative Physiology, Medical Sciences Program, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Dr Amit Oza, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Professor Gordon Rustin, Director of Medical Oncology, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre (UK)
  • Dr Michael Seiden, Chief Medical Officer, McKesson Specialty Health and The US Oncology Network at McKesson
  • Professor Anil Sood, Director, Ovarian Cancer Research, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas