Our Projects

The Ladybird Foundation aims to fill an identified gap in funding of excellent breast and gynaecologic cancer research in Western Australia. Research is essential to provide evidence that new treatments are safe, effective and have the potential to improve treatment outcomes for patients. Funds raised by the Foundation are granted directly into the relevant research project.

  • The ROLLIS Trial. A breast cancer randomized clinical trial.
  • Circulating Tumour DNA (ctDNA) Pilot Study. A breast cancer pilot study.
  • Getting the MOST out of Ovarian Cancer Follow-Up Trial. An ovarian cancer trial.
  • Measuring Malnutrition Rates (MMR) Pilot Study. A gynaecological cancer pilot study.
  • A Clinical Trial to Reduce the Impact of Vaginal Atrophy in Breast Cancer Survivors. A breast cancer crossover trial.

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of our research projects.


Radioguided Occult Lesion Localization using Iodine 125 Seeds


The ROLLIS Trial

This large multi-centre breast cancer randomized clinical trial of 688 women is now completed.

It has paved the way for wireless localization of impalpable breast cancer lesions and improved the experience for women undergoing breast-conserving surgery in Australia.

Re-excision rates after breast-conserving surgery were significantly lower after Iodine-125 seedlocalization compared with hookwire localization.

Reporting on the primary and secondary outcomes of the ROLLIS trial has finished, with thepublication of 6 papers in peer reviewed journals; a fantastic achievement that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of The Ladybird Foundation.

The Ladybird Foundation successfully met the challenge of raising vital funds for completion of the ROLLIS trial, enabling it to continue to enrol Western Australian women as participants.

ROLLIS Trial Clinical Co-lead Researcher Professor Christobel Saunders

The ROLLIS Trial

What is the ROLLIS Trial?

Purpose: The ROLLIS trial compared the use of low-dose radioactive Iodine-125 seeds to the standard hookwire technique to guide localization of impalpable breast cancer in women undergoing breast-conserving surgery.

Technique: The ROLLIS technique is used to guide breast-conserving surgery for small, impalpable (i.e. thesurgeon can’t feel it) breast cancers.

It involves inserting a tiny low-dose radioactive iodine-labelled seed into the patient’s cancer under local anaesthesia with imaging guidance.

The surgeon uses a hand-held probe to locate the seed at the time of surgery.

Rationale: This technique had shown great promise with small studies already carried out in the USA and Europe suggesting it would significantly reduce the number of women needing more than one operation to ensure all cancer is removed, compared to the traditional hookwire technique where almost one in three women needs more than one breast cancer operation (“re-excision” rate).

Re-excision causes significant anxiety and distress to a woman at a critical phase in her cancer journey, as well as being a consequent burden on health resources.
The ROLLIS randomized clinical trial provided the high-quality evidence required to confirm if ROLLIS is the better technique.

Researchers: The ROLLIS trail was investigator-led by WA clinician researchers:

  • Professor Christobel Saunders (Breast Surgeon)
  • Dr Donna Taylor (Radiologist)
  • Dr Anita Bourke (Radiologist).

More Information

Trial details:

When an impalpable abnormal area in the breast needs to be removed following a needle or core biopsy, the abnormal area must be localized prior to surgery.

The ROLLIS trial compared different localization techniques.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two techniques:

  1. The ROLLIS procedure, followed by breast-conserving surgery within 8 days.
    This involves the surgeon using the seed to guide removal of the impalpable cancer.
  2. Hookwire guided localization (the standard treatment)
    A hookwire is placed in the breast on the day of breast-conserving surgery by a radiologist.


Participants were followed up for 5 years post-surgery to evaluate clinical and cosmetic outcomes, disease recurrence and patient satisfaction.

A cost-benefit analysis was also undertaken.

In addition, there was analysis of cosmetic outcomes, localization accuracy, post-operative complications rates, patient satisfaction, lessons learned and recommendations.


Donate to the Ladybird Foundation here


Read more about Our Researchers here


Circulating Tumour DNA Pilot Study

The Ladybird Foundation has granted $15,000 in funding to enable completion of this pilot study into the feasibility of using circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a biomarker of disease status and treatment response in breast cancer patients.


Circulating Tumour DNA Pilot Study

What is the ctDNA Pilot Study?

This project aims to identify a patient’s tumour-specific biomarkers in their core biopsy and determine whether detection of these personal biomarkers in blood samples taken prior to, during and following neoadjuvant therapy could be used to as a blood test to monitor disease status and response to treatment.


New research has demonstrated that simple blood tests could dramatically change the way cancers are diagnosed, treated and monitored.

Such blood tests, known as “liquid biopsies”, detect DNA from cancer cells which escape from the main tumour and circulate in the blood stream.

This circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) can provide useful information to treating doctors about the cancer.

Such information can help tailor treatment to the individual, indicate how a patient’s breast cancer is responding to treatment and if it has relapsed.



Donate to the Ladybird Foundation here


Read more about Our Researchers here