New research makes inroad into deadly ovarian cancer

QUEENSLAND scientists have made significant inroads into our understanding of the deadliest form of ovarian cancer after identifying two enzymes that make it resistant to chemotherapy.

There is currently no proven screening test or method of prevention for ovarian cancer, which kills more than half of all Australian women who are diagnosed within five years.

With funding from Cancer Council Queensland, researchers at QUT are working to better understand how serous ovarian cancer cells aggregate and survive in the ascites fluid that accumulates in the abdomen, and why it is resistant to chemotherapy treatment.

QUT’s team is one of a few groups of scientists in the world working with 3D modelling for ovarian cancer, to replicate cancer cell behaviour in the abdominal cavity.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said ovarian cancer was often diagnosed after it had spread, reducing the chances of survival significantly.

“If ovarian cancer is treated when confined to the ovaries, 93 per cent of patients will be alive in five years,” Ms Clift said.

“If the cancer spreads to surrounding tissue or organs, only 39 per cent of patients will be alive after five years. If the cancer spreads more distantly, the figure drops to just 30 per cent of patients who will survive five years after diagnosis.”

QUT’s Distinguished Professor Judith Clements said serous ovarian cancer spreads rapidly throughout the abdominal area and ultimately becomes resistant to chemotherapy treatment.

“This form of cancer is incredibly aggressive, moving quickly from the ovaries to the abdominal cavity where the tumour cells aggregate or clump, become embedded in the wall of the abdomen and then grow at quite a rapid pace,” Professor Clements said.

“While chemotherapy will often work initially, this form of cancer has found a way of beating the current chemotherapy drugs and quite quickly becomes immune to treatment.

“Our 3-D modelling in test tubes replicates the cancer cells’ behaviour and under microscopic conditions we can see how it works and our understanding of the cancer has greatly improved.

“We have also identified two enzymes that when present in a tumour make the cancer resistant to chemotherapy.

“This is a very significant step forward because once we know how and why ovarian cancer is resistant to chemotherapy we can then work on possible solutions.”

In Queensland each year, around 248 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 137 women die from the disease.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said it was imperative for all Queensland women to be aware of the risks of ovarian cancer.

“Although we know the causes of ovarian cancer, it’s important for all women to be aware of the symptoms and to discuss them with their GP,” Ms Clift said.

“Persistent abdominal pain, pelvic or back pain, tiredness, feeling full and/or having difficulty eating, cramps or swelling and a change in bowel habits can all be symptoms of ovarian cancer.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and ovarian cancer is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

Rebels bikies arrested following cross-border drug blitz

POLICE from NSW and Queensland have closed a cross-border drug trafficking operation targeting the criminal activities of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang.

Last November, detectives from Ballina Police Station commenced an investigation into an alleged drug supply operation involving members of the Rebels’ Ballina Chapter.

Police inquiries indicated that members and associates of the gang were trafficking drugs from NSW over the border into Queensland where they were being sold to buyers on the Gold Coast.

Ballina Detectives contacted officers in the Queensland Police Force’s Taskforce Maxima, who immediately joined the investigation and began to closely examine the gang’s activities on the Gold Coast.

Today, police executed a number of search warrants in NSW and Queensland, resulting in a number of arrests and the seizure of illicit drugs, firearms and weapons.

Police arrested a 31-year-old Bangalow man in New South Wales after allegedly seizing a quantity of amphetamines valued at $14,000. It is alleged the man is a patched member of the Rebels Criminal Motorcycle gang and Vice President of the Ballina chapter.

He was charged with being a participant in a criminal organisation and being knowingly present in a public place, two counts of drug trafficking with circumstance of aggravation (VLAD Act), one count each of possessing dangerous drugs with circumstance of aggravation (VLAD Act), possessing instructions for producing dangerous drugs, possessing house breaking tools and driving under the influence of drugs and five counts of disqualified driving.

A 19-year-old man from Carrara, was arrested and charged with being a participant in a criminal organisation and being knowingly present in a public place. It will be alleged this person is a participant of the Rebels Criminal Motorcycle Gang.

The offenders are due to face Southport Magistrates Court later today.

Detective Inspector Brendan Smith of Taskforce Maxima said the arrests were a result of both police agencies working in close collaboration.

“This operation clearly reflects the ongoing co-operation between Queensland and New South Wales Police. Both agencies work closely to target the activities of criminal motorcycle gangs,” Detective Inspector Smith said.

“These gangs attempt to exploit state borders in an attempt to hamper law enforcement efforts but the success of this operation obviously illustrates law enforcement work together to successfully target their criminal activity regardless of where they live and operate.

“These actions clearly reflect the Queensland and New South Wales Police commitment to disrupting and eliminating the criminal activities of these gangs.”

Investigations are continuing and additional arrests are expected throughout the day.

Cut Snake to cut loose at Sail Paradise Regatta

EXCITEMENT is building ahead of the Southport Yacht Club’s Sail Paradise Regatta.

Brisbane multihull sailor Rob Dean has declared he’ll be racing his 12-metre catamaran “Cut Snake” at the March event.

Apart from looking forward to some great racing against a fleet comprising both multihulls and monohulls, Dean is planning to use the regatta as part of his preparation for the 50th Brisbane to Gladstone multihull race, which will start on Moreton Bay on Good Friday.

“Everything about Sail Paradise is perfect for us,” Dean said while working on his boat on the hardstand at Coomera.

“The timing is right, and the racing promises to give us everything we need as we prepare for the Brisbane to Gladstone,” he added.

Rob has contested three Brisbane to Gladstone races with Cut Snake and last year his efforts were fully rewarded when the yacht took handicap honours in the 308 nautical mile classic.

Sail Paradise 2014 is open to racing and cruising monohulls, multihulls and off-the-beach sailboats.

Luxury boats destroyed in Marina Mirage fire

THREE luxury yachts moored outside Marina Mirage in Main Beach have been destroyed by fire.

Crews were called to the scene next door to Palazzo Versace on Seaworld Drive around 3am on Wednesday to find the vessels well involved.

Six fire crews sprayed fire-proof foam in the water to stop the flames spreading and managed to extinguish the existing fires.

The cause of the fires is unknown and Police are trying to track down the owners of the boats.

No one was injured.

Peter Andre confirms engagement

YOU can say this for Peter Andre, he doesn’t scare easily.

The Gold Coast raised singer-turned-reality star has announced he’s heading down the aisle – again.

The 40-year-old’s decided to make an ‘honest woman’ out of his babymama, Emily MacDonagh, 23, reports OK Magazine.

Andre confirmed the good news as he showed off his newborn baby daughter in a shoot for the British rag, revealing he popped the question in the nursery room at his family home before the baby arrived earlier this month.

Emily was completely shocked by the proposal but immediately accepted.

‘He always said he’d like to do it before the baby was born and I just thought he’d do it after – I was happy, I didn’t need a ring, but it was amazing,’ she says.

Peter adds, ‘She said: “Are you serious?” and burst into tears – it was so emotional. We lay down in the nursery for ages because it was such a special room to us.’

The baby girl, whose name is yet to be revealed, is his first child with Emily. Peter is also father to Junior, eight, and Princess Tiaamii, six, with ex-wife Katie Price.