Dr. David Huntsman, Dr. Chew Wei memorial professor of gynecologic oncology and director of the BC multidisciplinary ovarian cancer research team (OVCARE), will use his Strategic Priority Funds as support for his project titled Proteomic based approach to address diagnostic challenges in cancer, with a focus in ovarian cancer.

“The Strategic Priority Fund will support an exciting new direction for our research that stemmed from a collaboration between OVCARE,, BC's multidisciplinary ovarian cancer research team and the MSIS, the mass spectrometry core at the BCCRC. Our goal is to discover, develop then implement a suite of new biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer.”

Project Summary

The critical first step in cancer management is correct diagnosis, made by microscopic examination of tissue removed through biopsy or surgery, which leads to the appropriate choice of treatment and interpretation of further studies such as genomic tests. Although most common cancers can be accurately diagnosed, there are several tumour types that remain challenging. This is because different tumours can look alike at the microscopic level and we lack diagnostic aids, such as antibodies to help with their differentiation. As a result, one type of tumour may be mistakenly identified as a different type of tumour, which can lead to improper treatment of the patient.

This project proposes to perform an analysis of total protein expression in 20 tumour type pairs that are difficult to distinguish from each other, yet require different management strategies. Antibodies to proteins that distinguish look-alike tumours will then be developed into diagnostic aids and translated into practice.

In addition to the BC Cancer Foundation, the project was enabled by VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation and UBC Development into OVCARE.