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UBC research makes key ovarian cancer discoveries


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s being described as a landmark study. A UBC scientist has led research which reveals how the most malignant ovarian cancer spreads.

Using genome sequencing techniques and special software created by the BC Cancer Agency, Dr. Sohrab Shah and his team have made some key discoveries.

They found tumours often contain many different cancer cell types — which might explain why some cells react positively to treatment, while others do not — sometimes leading to a relapse.

“We’re trying to study these specimens the optimal way, to identify over time in the unfortunate event of relapse, we can then zero in on cells that are resistant to treatment, and then really study those cells in depth,” says Dr. Shah.

“One of the other features of the disease is that at the time of diagnosis, it’s often widespread throughout the abdomen,” says Dr. Shah. “We wanted to understand whether there was relationships with particular cells which were spread in different parts of the abdomen.”

Each year, 250 women die as a result of ovarian cancer in our province.

It’s hoped this research can eventually help reduce that number.