4 Nov 2011

Lauds and Labs

Last night, I was very proud to stand beside one of my real sisters as she went up to the podium to receive a commendation for raising funds for ovarian cancer research.  The evening celebration was in honour of those who had organized and led teams of runners and walkers in the annual London Run for Ovarian Cancer. I was also beaming with pride when the announcer mentioned how wonderful they thought our Sunflower Sisters website is.  My webmaster sister should have been there to receive that accolade too, so I blushed for her.

A very moving speech was made by a survivor. She was diagnosed 2 years ago being BRCA positive, has gone through two clinical trials and has had three recurrences.  Has she still got hope?  You bet.

The Run/Walk is unique in that they are not raising funds for a national charity but for a local, highly sophisticated ovarian cancer research team.  The team's focus is advanced ovarian cancer.  Not prevention.  Not detection.  The are no awareness committees nor excess administration. 

The highlight of the evening came when we were invited to tour the research facilities with one of the chief scientists.  When you picture researchers - you envision scientists holed up in some dark basement doing wild and wonderful experiments.  To the contrary, these scientists work in a very bright, professional environment and perform what is known as translational research - meaning working in close relationship with gynecological oncologists, gyn/onc surgeons and medical oncologists.  An example of this "live" interaction is OvCa tumour material being sent directly from the operating theatre to their labs for analysis to test and determine what kind of chemo would be most effective for that patient.  This is revolutionary.  It wasn't available four years ago.  Co-operative effort is the key to progress - not isolation.

Although you needed a dictionary to follow what was being said, the gist of it was that cancer treatment needs to evolve to a personalized basis - tumour by tumour - gene by gene. Clearly no two patients are alike.  It was extremely fascinating - complex - powerful.

We took his message to heart with re-newed enthusiasm to activate everyone we can reach to help with this extremely worthwhile work.

Save the date for this coming year's event:
Sunday, May 13th, 2012
Run, walk or just send money.  We'll be onto you!

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