Dr. Mark Carey obtained his MD and completed his Obstetrics & Gynaecology residency at the University of Western Ontario, a fellowship in Gynaecology Oncology at both the University of Toronto and McMaster University, and a research fellowship in the Department of Systems Biology at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Centre. He is a clinical professor in the division of Gynaecologic Oncology and oversees his research through the Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OVCARE). Additionally, through the National Cancer Institute of Canada, Dr. Carey has been involved in clinical trials in gynecologic oncology and is on the executive committee of the gynecological disease site group. Dr. Carey is also a recipient of the 2019 Women’s Health Research Institute Catalyst Grant for research focused on a low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSC), a rare form of ovarian cancer, with the aim to find better treatments and improve the outcomes for women with this disease.
About a third of all gynecologic cancer patients are diagnosed with an aggressive cancer type, representing a significant number of women in BC and across Canada that face the daunting prospect of there being few effective treatments for their cancer. The fact that there are several different types of aggressive gynecologic cancer affecting the ovary, uterus, cervix and vulva means that traditional clinical trials testing one drug on one type of aggressive gynecologic cancer creates a bottleneck. There is an urgent need to develop accurate disease models for these aggressive gynecologic cancers so that new drugs can be evaluated quickly in the laboratory, with the most effective drugs to be selected for clinical trial use.
Due to the diverse nature of cancer, drug treatments are often only effective in a portion of patients. In order to select the best treatment option for each patient, experts must identify characteristics in the tumours of those patients (known as tumour markers) that can be used to predict a patient’s response to a drug before they receive it.
In 2016, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada (GOC) endorsed the formation of a community of practice for LGSC. This LGSC-CoP includes physicians, scientists, and research stakeholders from across the country, all of whom have worked to improve patient outcomes. Together, they created a new online registry/database of LGSC patients that is currently being used in institutions throughout B.C. and Ontario. Recently the GOC approved expanding both the CoP and the newly created database to include other rare and aggressive gynecological cancers.