Q: Can you share a bit about your academic journey and how it led you OVCARE?
A: I did my 4 year specialist medical oncology training in the UK at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow. I knew my interests were in cancer research early on, particularly in gynecologic cancer treatment and research, which brought me to Newcastle University to do my PhD in PARP inhibitors in ovarian cancer. My PhD looked at the PARP inhibitor rucaparib associated with a clinical trial of women that had BRCA mutated ovarian cancer. I was also part of one of the first groups to show that PARP inhibitors might work in a wider group of women who don’t have BRCA mutations. After successful award of my PhD and an ASCO Merit award for this work I was awarded a Senior Lecturer and Consultant post in Medical Oncology at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC) and the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Newcastle University around 2014. From the very beginning of my consultant career, I specialized in gynecological cancers and early phase clinical trial development and delivery. I really enjoy research and consider it integral to my work as an oncologist. . Therefore, I was delighted to join OVCARE given their internationally recognized status and because I felt like I could fit in well with the team and bring my experience from the UK specifically in early phase clinical trial experience.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your career?
A: I will always be a clinician at heart because I enjoy treating patients and making an overall difference in people’s lives. But, within my current role, I am able to work to improve and advance treatments for women with gynecological cancer. Having the combination of clinical work and research in order to make both long and short-term impacts is amazing.
Q: What keeps you inspired?
A: It is definitely the patients that inspire me and keep me going. Oncology can be a challenging specialty since seeing those results can take a long time. I’ve had the privilege to see outcomes of my work, such as with the PARP inhibitors, so it’s been quite rewarding and I don’t want to stop there. I really hope and want to work towards providing patients the opportunity to participate in early phase clinical trials, novel therapies, and translational research.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: On a personal level, I’m proud of being able to have my academic career with my family! Having three young children is challenging but hugely rewarding. In terms of work related achievements so far it is my role in the development of PARP inhibitors, this is a big highlight of my career and I hope to continue to achieve as a part of OVCARE and the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: To believe in yourself and realize that progress takes time.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: At the moment, discovering Vancouver! It’s nice to be tourists when there aren’t a lot of tourists here. In my free time I’m mainly outdoors with the kids cycling, at the park, or exploring the mountains. Maybe in the winter I will be learning to ski, so watch out for me on the nursery slopes!
Q: What do you enjoy about living in Vancouver?
A: I absolutely love being near the sea and the mountains. I enjoy cycling to work and just having the outdoors right on our door step!
You can connect with Dr. Drew on Twitter (@YvetteDrew).