A growing understanding of ovarian cancer is spurring the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics that also apply to other types of cancer. Therefore, despite a small incidence rate (22,240 this year, according to the American Association for Cancer Research) and a small market, ovarian cancer is experiencing an uptick in interest.
“During the past 40 years, nothing has been introduced that has dramatically affected overall survival,” Marc Mansour, Ph.D., COO, Immunovaccine, said. Instead, most research has involved optimizing known drugs and regimens.
“We gained a better understanding of the mechanisms of ovarian cancer, though, so that ovarian cancer has become a good scientific indication for a variety of therapies,” Dr. Mansour said. Although ovarian cancer has an orphan designation, there is ready access to the tumor tissue for every patient treated, he explained. “There is a big need, but only limited options.”
Improved understanding reveals a direct link among T cells, the immune system, and patient longevity. “It is interesting as an immunogenic cancer, and there is great interest in testing that. Histologically, when you see a lot of CD8 T cells inside the tumor, it means the patient has a robust immune system that can fight the cancer,” Dr. Mansour explained.
Decision Resource predicts the drug market for ovarian cancer therapeutics in the seven major markets (the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Japan) will more than triple during the next decade, growing from $460 million in 2011 to $1.4 billion in 2021. Another report, this time from BCC, anticipates a 13.1% CAGR between 2013 and 2018 for all ovarian cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, including surgeries. Using those broad parameters, it estimates the 2021 market at $34.6 billion, slightly more than twice 2012 levels.