Research Groups

The Department’s research groups encompass basic and clinical research, in addition to collaborative multidisciplinary activities.

What is the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative?

In 2018, the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative (GCI) was formed to promote synergies and facilitate the integration between research scientists and clinicians across the province, with the goal of accelerating the pace of change in improving patient outcomes in British Columbia.

Vision

To reduce the incidence, death and suffering from gynecologic cancers by 50% by 2034.

Over the last year, the GCI has focused on two key activities to develop a framework to aggregate the exceptional talent and incredible assets in British Columbia in a shared provincial vision: Research with tangible benefits for women at risk for, diagnosed with, and survivors of gynecologic cancers.

1. Developing a Five-Year Strategic Plan

Working in close partnership with academic faculty across UBC and clinician partners in the province, the GCI Steering Committee has developed a five-year Strategic Plan with 11 key interdisciplinary research initiatives: Cervical Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Uterine Cancer, Vaginal/Vulva Cancer, Indigenous Women’s Gynecologic Health, Clinical Trials, Survivorship, Immunotherapy, Digital Health Solutions and Analysis, Translational Digital Pathology, and Translational Medicine. The strategic plan aligns with the five priorities identified in the refreshed Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (2019-2029): decrease risk, improve diagnosis, delivery of high-quality care, eliminate barriers to access, and improve support. It also builds upon the global model of cancer control that is used to include prevention, early detection, treatment and supportive care. The regional diversity of patient populations in the province make BC an ideal “living laboratory” to study women’s health and address health disparities. The Strategic Plan forms the basis for the goal of raising $100M to support and enabling this initiative over the next 5 years.

2. Creating a Unified Platform to Accelerate Discovery

In January 2019, the GCI led by Dr. Gavin Stuart successfully applied for and received funding from the UBC Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters competition. The funding does not directly support research but is intended to help build capacity and foster interdisciplinary research across the provincial gynecologic cancer research community. Here are some of the key deliverables that are either completed or will be by the end of the year that will support the GCI’s research priorities moving forward:

• Establish a minimal core set of baseline indicators for gynecologic cancer in BC including survival, incidence rates and uptake into practice of preventative measures

• Develop an integrated gynecologic cancer database platform (tissue bank, outcomes data, ‘omics data)

• Enhance patient engagement through establishment of a Patient and Family Advisory Council

• Convene two focused international gynecological cancer meetings to expand global partnerships. This includes one applied science meeting focused on the origins of ovarian cancer and the other focused on developing biologically and socio-culturally informed survivorship strategies for gynecological cancers.

• Convene and collaborate with key personnel in the Province to establish standard operating procedures for clinical trials and implementation of two new gynecological cancer trials across BC.

• Enhancing communications all stakeholders through quarterly newsletters to promote synergies and fuel collaborations.

The Gynecologic Cancer Initiative is continuing to develop an evaluation framework to assess progress including performance metrics. The true measure of success will be having an impact on the incidence, mortality and quality of life of women.

If you are interested in participating in the GCI, please contact us at communications@gynecancerinitiative.ca.

The Canadian Perinatal Network (CPN) is made up of Canadian researchers who collaborate on research issues relating to perinatal care. The network commenced in September 2005, and includes members from 23 tertiary perinatal units.CPN's inaugural project, Birth before 29 weeks, seeks to identify best practice in the care of women with the most common causes of preterm birth at 22 to 28 weeks gestation.

The Centre for Pelvic Floor Competence is located at St. Paul’s Hospital and is led by Dr. Geoffrey Cundiff and Dr. Roxana Geoffrion. Their research involves multiple multi-centre trials that study different treatment methods for an assortment of pelvic floor disorders. The centre unites a variety of specialists to reach high levels of patient care and research.

The BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis and the UBC Endometriosis Pelvic Pain Laboratory are home to an interdisciplinary team actively involved in research to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of endometriosis and pelvic pain.

Multidisciplinary Vulvodynia Program is a combined clinical and research program that aims to improve the lives of women and their partners affected by provoked vestibulodynia. It is one of the programs offered by the BC Centre for Vulvar Health.

Ovarian Cancer Research Team is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research team to enhance research in ovarian cancer and improve health outcomes for women facing the disease.

The Pre-Eclampsia Integrated Estimate of RiSk for mothers (PIERS), led by Dr Peter von Dadelszen, is an international, multi-centre collaboration to develop a model to predict risk of adverse outcomes in women admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia. The PIERS model will contribute to our understanding of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia, which we hope will lead to the development of new appropriate treatments and interventions to reduce maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality associated with this condition.

The theme of PRE-EMPT (Pre-eclampsia Eclampsia Monitoring, Prevention and Treatment) project is to develop, test and introduce new knowledge that will reduce the unacceptable maternal, perinatal, family, societal, and global impacts of pre-eclampsia, and the other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Dr Peter von Dadelszen leads the PRE-EMPT initiative with funding provided to UBC from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Research in Advanced Fetal diagnosis and Therapy Group (RAFT) is a research-focused group that facilitates research in fetal imaging, diagnosis and therapy.

The UBC Sexual Health Lab focuses on clinical and behavioural research in women's sexual health, issues in sexuality, and psycho-social oncology issues.