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Bench to Bedside: How Research Discoveries are Leading to Solutions for Gynecologic Cancers

May 13, 2015

A nice thing about being junior in your career is that sometimes if you work hard, think a bit, and play well with others, people can give you the benefit of the doubt in believing you might be able to achieve something. My first years at the BC Cancer Agency were like this; I came here with relatively rudimentary research experience, no protected research time in my new position per say, but with an incredibly supportive team of colleagues who fostered ideas, provided resources and wanted me to succeed. 

I now am able to split my time evenly between clinical/surgical work and translational research and in 2012 took over Directorship of the tumour bank. Translational research takes basic science discoveries and applies them to the clinical setting/real patients (“bench to bedside”). These are the kind of research projects that excite all of us – things you read about in the paper that you can ask your doctor about and might change the course of the life of you, your sister, your mum or your aunt.

The ovarian cancer research team in B.C. (OVCARE) has a history of discoveries that have truly impacted day to day management of the women in B.C. The major reason cited for this team’s success is having a collegial collaborative interdisciplinary team, including specialists in pathology, genetics, “bench” research, bioinformatics and clinical oncology.

As a surgeon-scientist I try to frame what is needed or lacking and what is relevant in the field. Then I work with our team on research discoveries that will improve outcomes for women with gynecologic cancers. 

The BC Cancer Foundation has supported us in our research endeavors and I hope the Foundation and its donors can be proud of OVCARE’s successes in the last decade. Some specifics can be found on our website.

Next week I look forward to sharing the story of what one family’s funding allowed me and our team to accomplish in endometrial cancer research (the fun part!).