Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer worldwide and one of the hardest to treat. As this Nature Outline and animation show, this is largely because many tumours develop resistance to first-line treatment: platinum-based chemotherapy. The good news is that experimental therapies in development could help to deliver a knockout blow to the deadly tumours.
Nature is pleased to acknowledge financial support from PharmaMar, S.A. in producing this Outline. The sponsor retains sole responsibility for the following messages.
Despite enormous resources aimed at advancing cancer research, treatments for the many forms of the disease remain an unmet medical need. Considerable effort goes into finding effective therapies; however, current research approaches to drug discovery are largely constrained by what we know about cancer.
Since 1986, PharmaMar has pursued a unique approach to the search for new treatments for cancer by tapping into the reaches of the world´s oceans. The company’s model is leveraging nature´s evolution in the enormous biodiversity found in the depths of the sea to discover new cancer targets. The biophysiology of marine organisms hints at the remarkable potential of the marine ecosystem as a source of new compounds that have powerful anticancer properties. Although these molecules are often very complex, PharmaMar is able to transform them into first-in-class therapies; providing new therapies to tackle cancer.
Through a rigorous approach to research, PharmaMar has created the world’s largest bank of marine organisms, discovered new compounds, obtained 1,800 patents and launched a new treatment for soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancer. It currently has a number of marine-inspired drug candidates in late stage development — several in cancers for which, until now, there has been little development and hope.
Alongside existing forms of research in the field of oncology, PharmaMar is unlocking the therapeutic potential of the oceans to offer new ways to overcome cancer.