Bringing hope across Canada
Ovarian cancer is not one disease, it represents a variety of diseases; unique types that react differently to treatment. Ovarian cancer cannot be addressed with a one-size-fits all approach. Thus, Ovarian Cancer Canada takes a multi-pronged approach to ensure that all types of the disease, even the rarest ones, are prioritized to ensure that everyone benefits from the best available science as quickly as possible.
Meet Julia. Julia Laliberte was diagnosed with low-grade serous ovarian cancer, which is among the rare forms, comprising less than 10 percent of cases.
“I admit, I was not aware of ovarian cancer until it became personal for me in 2020. I was just thirty-four years old when everything came to a standstill. Nothing prepares you for being told you have advanced stage ovarian cancer,” says Julia Laliberte of Montreal, Quebec.
Research on this type has been extremely limited, but Ovarian Cancer Canada is changing that by prioritizing funding of studies on rare ovarian cancers.
“There is a great need to allocate more funding for research on rare cancers. It is important to appreciate that 40-50% of gynecological cancers are rare,” says Dr. Mark Carey, Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University of British Columbia. “However, the number of rare cancer types is increasing, due to our ability to define molecular subgroups of cancer – even within the more common types of cancer (lung, breast, bowel, prostate)”.
Ovarian Cancer Canada’s research initiatives currently funds four of Dr. Carey’s projects, all focused on low-grade serous cancer:
- Dr. Mark Carey, University of British Columbia: Development and/or molecular characterization of low-grade serous ovarian cancer cell lines and patient-derived xenografts
- Dr. Mark Carey, University of British Columbia and Dr. Trevor Shepherd, University of Western Ontario: Three-dimensional culture models for low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma
- Dr. Mark Carey, University of British Columbia: Anti-estrogen therapy and ER/PR expression in low-grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma
- Dr. Anna Tinker and Dr. Mark Carey, BC Cancer Agency: Molecular evaluation of MEK/ER response in low-grade serous carcinomas: A clinical-translational study
“Women with this type of ovarian cancer have fewer treatment options, and fewer opportunities to participate in clinical trials. The need for progress is urgent,” says Dr. Carey. “We’re very pleased with the support from Ovarian Cancer Canada. Funding for work like this isn’t generally supported by traditional research grants.”
The ovarian cancer research community is one of the most engaged and collaborative in the world. Dr. Carey’s team shares findings across Canada and beyond to inform related studies.
“This is just one of the many researchers I am proud to have in my corner. I’ve seen with my own eyes the ground-breaking progress Ovarian Cancer Canada is making,” says Julia. “It’s exciting to know that research in labs all the way in British Columbia is making its way back to me in Montreal. This progress gives me hope – not just for me, but for the women like me, and the 3,000 more who will be diagnosed next year.”
With increased funding women like Julia can benefit from improved survival rates, more treatment options and more opportunities to participate in research.
“We are accelerating research progress. Taking research to new heights and we are earning international recognition for Canada as a leader in pioneering transformative research and discoveries,” says Tania Vrionis, CEO, Ovarian Cancer Canada. “We are committed to a research plan that aims to advance new treatments to improve the survival of women with ovarian cancer.”
The path ahead calls for added bench strength. Ovarian Cancer Canada is urgently pressing on, taking a sustainable approach that supports long-term research investments that improve treatment options for those living with the disease. It will take hard work, but Ovarian Cancer Canada is ready to rise to the challenge.
Ovarian Cancer Canada is affecting change, spanning from prevention, access to drugs and care through to research that is already changing lives. Every dollar you invest directly, and every time you engage with these efforts, is absolutely worth it. To help ensure this vital research continues, please donate at ovariancanada.org/brighterfuture.