K9 Medical Detection New Zealand Charitable Trust
Charitable Trust Registration
No: CC55179

Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trial

AIM: To develop a highly accurate urine test using canines as a diagnostic tool for the early non-invasive detection of ovarian cancer in New Zealand.

BACKGROUND: There are no adequate screening tools available for the early detection of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer diagnosed early when only localized to the ovaries has a 5- year survival rate of 92.3% [1]. However, most (59%) women with ovarian cancer are only diagnosed after the cancer has metastasised, dropping the 5-year survival rate to 29.2% (1). There is currently no screening test or adequate early diagnostic test available for ovarian cancer.

There are many types of ovarian cancer. The most common types are: epithelial; germ cell and stromal cell. Out of the five gynaecological cancers ovarian cancer has the highest death rate (2).

In its early stages, ovarian cancer usually has no symptoms. This means it is typically diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced. If symptoms occur, they may include: pressure, pain or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvis; swollen or bloated abdomen; appetite loss or feeling full quickly; changes in toilet habits (e.g. constipation, diarrhoea, passing urine more often, increased flatulence); indigestion and nausea; tiredness; unexplained weight loss or weight gain; changes in menstrual pattern or bleeding after menopause; or pain during sex (3).

[1] - Shetty M. Imaging and Differential Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer. Semin Ultrasound, CT MRI.2019 Aug 1; 40(4): 302-18

[2] - New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation

[3] - Cancer Council Victoria


K9 Medical Detection NZ has strict protocols and robust methodologies for all medical detection trials. Research trials are led by Professor Sarah Young and Doctor Katrin Campbell in conjunction with K9MD Director Pauline Blomfield. K9 Medical Detection have clinical facilities in Dunedin including a laboratory for the safe handling and storing of all medical samples.

K9 Medical Detection NZ are currently (April 2020) seeking funding to commence training in 2021 for the early detection of ovarian cancer in urine. Two puppies will be added to the programme for the express purpose of canine ovarian detection. This would be a three year trial. Stage one and two each consist of 15 validation stages.

It is hoped that the findings from this research programme will assist in the development of a new ovarian cancer programme for New Zealand.

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