June 26, 2020  Print

Professor Anna DeFazio has been announced as a recipient of the 2020 Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award for her outstanding contributions to ovarian cancer research.

The award, named after Senator Jeannie Ferris, who sadly passed away from ovarian cancer in 2007, recognises those who work to improve outcomes for women with gynaecological cancers.

Professor DeFazio received the award in the ‘Health Professionals and Researchers’ category.

For more than 20 years, Professor DeFazio's has dedicated her work to improving outcomes for women with ovarian cancer.

Although the survival rates for a number of cancer have improved in recent years, the survival rate for ovarian cancer has remained comparatively poor – the five-year survival rate is just 45 per cent.

Professor DeFazio leads the INOVATe study, a collaborative program that aims to identify the differences in ovarian cancer cell biology between patients to help personalise treatment and ultimately improve the survival rate.

“We do a wide range of work from basic research investigating genes that cause cancer, through to trying to find new treatments for rare subtypes of ovarian cancer that don’t respond to current chemotherapy,” she said.

“We are also investigating why women with what looks like the same type of ovarian cancer can have very different outcomes, with some doing very poorly, and others having outstanding responses to chemotherapy – our so called ‘super responders’, some with well over 10 years’ survival.

“We hope that by understanding why some women do so well, we can improve outcomes for all women with ovarian cancer.”

We would like to congratulate Professor DeFazio on her award.

Find out more information on the Cancer Australia website: https://canceraustralia.gov.au/jeannie-ferris-award-2020

Professor DeFazio is the Director of WIMR’s Centre for Cancer Research, Leader of WIMR’s Gynaecological Oncology Research Group, and Sydney West Chair in Translational Cancer Research, University of Sydney at Westmead Hospital.