Scientists in London are investigating a possible link between women's menstrual periods and ovarian cancer.

Often called: “The silent killer,” the disease has few symptoms in the early stages, meaning that many cases are diagnosed when the cancer is too advanced to be cured. Worldwide, an estimated 125,000 women die of ovarian cancer each year but its causes are still unknown.

A current theory suggests that the constant injury and repair caused by ovulation may play an important role in causing cancer of the ovaries.  During ovulation an egg is released from the ovary, which involves a 'wound' in the layer of tissue overlying the egg.  It is thought that in some women this repeated injury and healing eventually causes the cells in the tissue which lines the ovarian surface to change and become cancerous. 

Director of The Wellcome Trust to deliver SGUL public lecture - John Snow: molecular genetics and the epidemiology of infectious diseases

Director of The Wellcome Trust, Sir Mark Walport, will deliver this year’s Jenner Lecture entitled John Snow: molecular genetics and the epidemiology of infectious diseases. He is one of five eminent scientists who will be discussing their specialist subjects at the 2010 Jenner Event, which takes place on 4 November 2010.

The Symposium will be marked by four lectures delivered by Dr Blaise Corthesy, head of research at the University of Lausanne, and infection and immunity scientists at St George’s, University of London, Dr Rachel Allen and Professors George Griffin and Tom Harrison.

New gene mutation reveals new cause of rare neurological diseases

Scientists have discovered a new cause of spastic ataxia, and believe this cause is also a trigger for other mitochondrial diseases – neurological disorders that can lead to serious coordination, growth, visual, speech, and muscle defects.

Researchers at St George’s, University of London have found a gene mutation mechanism that causes a new type of defect in mitochondria – the parts of cells responsible for creating energy from food and oxygen. They made the discovery when they found a new gene that, when mutated by this mechanism, can cause spastic ataxia.

Professor Sheila Hollins appointed to the House of Lords

Sheila Hollins, professor of psychiatry of learning disability at St George’s, University of London, has been appointed to the House of Lords – the UK parliament’s upper chamber – and awarded the title of Baroness. The accolade recognises her contribution to learning disability and mental health in the UK.

Baroness Hollins, who has worked at St George’s since 1981, was named a life peer as a crossbencher – a non-party-political peer – by the House of Lords Appointments Commission today (Tuesday 5 October). 

New collaboration to improve healthcare delivery and education

St George’s, University of London is part of a collaboration of NHS, education and social care organisations to form a major new government-funded network that aims to improve healthcare delivery and education in the South London.

The collaboration, made up of around 30 organisations, forms the South London Health Innovation Education Cluster (HIEC) - one of 17 the new government funded networks aimed at delivering high quality patient care through better trained clinicians and faster translation and adoption of research and innovation.