MSFHR scholar wins ovarian cancer research award

9 September 2011

Dr. David Huntsman, a two-time MSFHR scholar, has been named the first recipient of Ovarian Cancer Canada’s Virginia Greene Leadership Award. The award, presented September 9, recognizes Dr. Huntsman for his landmark discoveries, which have significantly advanced our understanding of ovarian cancer and facilitated improvements in prevention, early detection, and customized treatments.

In 2008, Dr. Huntsman and his team published evidence to demonstrate that ovarian cancer is made up of several sub-types that behave as individual diseases. This discovery, highlighted in an MSFHR Career Investigator World First profile, has changed the way ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated. His team has also led the way in identifying several mutations that contribute to ovarian cancer and will use these findings to inform the development of new therapeutics.

Dr. Huntsman received funding in 2002 and 2007 through MSFHR’s Career Investigator Program and led the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre, funded by a 2004 MSFHR Research Unit award. He currently serves as director of OvCaRe, BC’s ovarian cancer research project, which is supported in part by a 2007 MSFHR Research Unit award.

Ovarian cancer continues to be the most fatal women’s cancer. As there is no early detection screening test, most women are diagnosed at a late stage when the survival rate can be as low as 15 per cent.

Honouring former Business Council of BC CEO Virginia Greene, who died of ovarian cancer in December 2010, the Virginia Greene Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has been a major contributor to overcoming ovarian cancer in British Columbia. The award winner must also have demonstrated how they are contributing to Ovarian Cancer Canada’s overall mission of support, awareness, education and research.