Newsletter Juni 2015

Dear donors of MERMAID,

It has been an active Spring for the MERMAID Project, where the focus has been on raising funds for the research for MERMAID III.

It is a pleasure to announce that we have received sufficiently many generous donations to start the research. The objective of this important research is to develop a method for identifying ovarian cancer at an early stage. The research is expected to span 8 years.

MERMAID III is the MERMAID project’s largest research project to date, with a budget of 40 million kroner. Thus far, we have received 29.5 million in funds and promised funds. We are deeply grateful for all of the donations received.

It was great pleasure meeting many of our donors and friends of MERMAID at the information and fundraising lunch hosted in April at Selchausdal Gods by Peter Vagn Jensen, one of MERMAID’s founders.
At this event, the research leader professor Bent Ottesen presented the MERMAID III research. Professor Susanne Kruger Kjaer, who led MERMAID II, took the opportunity to present this project’s research results.
During lunch, Duchess Alexandra, an honorary member of MERMAID, also held a touching speech. The Duchess described how ovarian cancer is particularly sad in families where a mother becomes ill. The lunch was rounded off with a performance by our Goodwill ambassador Lis Sorensen, who was joined by the barbershop group Shoplifters.

The research in MERMAID II was finalized in 2014 after 7 years of research in cervical cancer. The researchers involved in the project have described their research and results in the report: “Final Scientific Progress Report”. In early 2015, the report was evaluated by The Independent Audit Committee (IAC). This committee acts independently and consists of highly esteemed scientists from within the field. In their conclusion of the research for MERMAID II, the members in IAC expressed the following:

The IAC can conclude that the Mermaid II program has provided important new knowledge on the natural history of HPV infection and cervical neoplasia. The investigations have resulted in an impressive number of publications, which all are published in high-ranking international journals. The results are of clinical importance and are useful for both patient treatment strategy and as a base in the ongoing development of preventive strategies. Together the cohorts and the collection of specimens make up a unique platform for future studies.
Mermaid II has contributed significantly to the international knowledge on the natural history of human papillomavirus infection and cervical neoplasia.”.

Parts of the results from MERMAID II have already been implemented in the screening process of women that have been diagnosed with mild precursor lesions or have had a conisation. Their cells were specifically tested for HPV (whether there was DNA from HPV virus) that could evolve into ovarian cancer.

Today, women typically have a cervical cytology at a screening every three years. With the new HPV screening, that the researchers in MERMAID II have developed, it will be possible to test less frequently yet still screening in a safer manner. In the longer term, it is this method that will constitute the screening programme.

The researchers have also reached notable results in the past 7 years of research. Many articles with research results have been published in international scientific journals. In 2010 it was a significant breakthrough, when the researchers identified one of the HVP viruses that has been more lethal and widespread than other strands. This knowledge enables identifying and hence helping women that are at increased risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
These results were published in the international scientific journal Journal of the National Cancer Institute, USA.
It was also a breakthrough, when the same journal in the beginning of 2014 could publish the impressive results from an investigation of the effect of an HPV vaccine and the subsequent risk for preliminary stages of ovarian cancer in Denmark. The investigation has shown an early and significant effect of the HPV vaccine, not only in relation to mild precursor lesions but also the severe ones, that would otherwise require surgical intervention in order to prevent the development of ovarian cancer.

The many research results that the scientists in MERMAID II have accomplished, will be used in future research.

MERMAID II had a budget of 26.3 million DKK.
In the MERMAID project we are very grateful for the many donations, that has made this crucial research possible.

On behalf of the MERMAID project,

Best regards,
Birgitte Blix Treschow
Project Coordinator

Letter on evaluation and assessment of MERMAID II

Letter on evaluation and assessment of MERMAID II