Ovarian Cancer

Working together to improve the lives of women with ovarian cancer

Like most cancers, ovarian cancer is not a single disease. Epithelial ovarian cancers (EOCs) are comprised of multiple subtypes, each having a different cellular origin and response to therapy. High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most common and aggressive subtype of EOC. HGSOC is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths of all gynecological cancers in the developed world. Many women with this type of cancer initially respond to chemotherapy, yet most HGSOC patients will develop recurrent disease that ultimately becomes resistant to available treatments.

Screening tests for any type of EOC are not presently available. Because symptoms of the disease are subtle in most patients, patients often present for the first time with an advanced form of the disease, which comes with a poor prognosis. Because of the disease’s unsatisfactory treatment outcome, more research is still required. As such, Dr. Mark Nachtigal, Dr. Kirk McManus (Senior Scientists at the Institute) along with Dr. Alon Altman (gynecologic oncologist) started the Manitoba Ovarian Cancer Research (MOCR) group partly to facilitate the development of new models of HGSOC formation to identify new targets for drug development and treatment. The group, working in tandem with the Manitoba Tumour Bank, uses EOC tissues generously donated by Manitobans suffering from the disease.

Recently, the MOCR team expanded to include Dr. Jody Haigh, Dr. Britt Drögmöller, Dr. Janilyn Arsenio, and Dr. Kathleen Decker to gain new insights into the onset and growth of HGSOC. In particular, they are now developing new models that will be used to understand how HGSOC forms from normal cells and examine how HGSOC cells change over time and in response to drug treatment.

Collectively, the multi-disciplinary efforts and approaches employed by the teams are aimed at improving the lives of Manitoban women living with ovarian cancer.

Dr. Nachtigal


“We have been able to build a strong multi-disciplinary ovarian cancer research team in Manitoba. Everyone has the same goal of improving patient outcomes,”

-Dr. Mark Nachtigal, Senior Scientist

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