International Women’s Day Highlight on Ovarian Cancer Researcher and Exciting Breakthrough

By Cancer Foundation on March 8 / 2017

[Cancer, Clinical Trials, Research]Comments

Cancer Champions @ Work: Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden/Ovarian Cancer Researcher

Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden has dedicated her career to unlocking the mysteries of ovarian cancer – and developing new ways to treat the deadly disease.  And this week, the cancer champion is celebrating an exciting breakthrough in her research. “We have had some really exciting data emerge over the last week involving our investigation into cancer immunotherapies for ovarian cancer,” explains Dr. Vanderhyden, the Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research.  “We just completed a small preclinical trial and it is showing that the immunotherapy we designed is working very well.  It’s a pilot study – but the results are very, very exciting – so we are moving forward right away.”

Right now, there are a number of checkpoint inhibitor antibodies that are being used in clinical trials – and the new immunotherapy involves an antibody from that same family.  Initial preclinical results show the new antibody is effective in ovarian cancer tumours, and is likely to have a positive impact on a number of different kinds of solid tumours as well.

For Dr. Vanderhyden, the goal is to try and use the new treatment alone – and eventually in combination with the oncolytic viruses.“This is a really exciting time for our lab.  If this new antibody treatment works, then we should be able to try it in all different types of cancers.  I know that we are on the cusp of making a huge impact.”

In honour of International Women’s Day the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation would like to thank Dr. Vanderhyden and her team for their dedication to advancing ovarian cancer research.

Dr. Vanderhyden, a distinguished professor with the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine, completed her Ph.D. in 1988, and has spent close to three decades building the capacity of ovarian cancer research at a national level.  The result:  Canadian scientists are now working on large-scale national research studies including a biomarker project and immunotherapies initiative – and together they are addressing how women are treated for ovarian cancer.

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