There are 17,000 Canadian women living with ovarian cancer. It is estimated that this year in Canada, 2,600 women will be newly diagnosed with this disease. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer for women and is the most fatal women’s cancer. Ovarian Cancer Canada: http://www.ovariancanada.org/about-ovarian-cancer
The study “A targeted analysis identifies a high frequency of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers in women with ovarian cancer from a founder population” was co-authored by Moria H. Belanger and Lena Dolman of McGill University; Suzanna L. Arcand of the RI-MUHC; Zhen Shen and George Chong of the Jewish General Hospital; Anne-Marie Mes-Masson and Diane Provencher of Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal and Institut du cancer de Montréal; and Patricia N Tonin of the RI-MUHC and McGill University. The findings, published in the Journal of Ovarian Research, have clinical implications both for the treatment of this disease and for the screening of individuals at-risk.
“Our findings suggest that all women with the most common form of ovarian cancer should be offered genetic testing as this would help identify carrier women in their families and allow health professionals to offer risk reducing strategies for their relatives,” says lead author Dr. Patricia Tonin, Associate Leader of the Cancer Research Program at the Centre for Translational Biology of the RI-MUHC. “Currently, only women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer are offered genetic testing, and if they happen to carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations they are given cancer prevention strategies to reduce their risk for these cancers.”
Dr. Tonin and her colleagues examined more than 400 tissue samples from a unique population of French Canadian women with ovarian cancer that were not selected for their family history of cancer. Analysis revealed that 19 per cent of women with the most common and lethal form of ovarian cancer carry mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, which is considerably higher than the previous estimates of 4 to 11 per cent.
Bravo Gala Celebrates Researchers at McGill
Photo: Owen Egan
McGill applauded the achievements in research excellence on the 10th anniversary of event, Bravo. This gala evening, honoured over 75 prize winners from across a full range of research disciplines, who received notable prizes, awards and scholarships in the year 2014.We congratulate all the honorees from the Faculty of Medicine!
Simon Gravel, Department of Human Genetics: Honoured for receiving the Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship
Gustavo Turecki, Department of Psychiatry: Honoured for receiving Découvertes de l’année
Loydie Jerome-Majewska, Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics: Honoured for receiving the Haile T. Debas Prize
Brent Richards, Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Honoured for receiving the Jody Ginsberg Youth Investigator Award
Philippe Gros, Department of Biochemistry: Honoured for receiving the McLaughlin Medal
William Foulkes, Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics and Oncology: Honoured for receiving the O. Harold Warwick Award
Guy Rouleau, MNI, Hopsital Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery: Honoured for receiving Prix d’excellence du Collège des médecins du Québec
Constantin Polychronakos, Department of Pediatrics: Honoured for receiving the Royal Society of Canada Fellowships
Award winner of the Fonds Santé (Leora Witkowski and Jian Carrot-Zhang)
PhD students in Human Genetics, McGill University
“Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is the most common undifferentiated type of ovarian cancer diagnosed in women below the age of 40. While it is rare, with only ~400 cases described in the English literature, it is a very aggressive disease, with 5-yr survival rates for early stage diagnoses at 33%. Prior to our publication, the histogenesis of the disease remained elusive, and publications discussing the histogenesis of SCCOHT were merely speculative. Our publication confirmed for the first time that SCCOHT is a monogenic disorder and that deleterious germline mutations in the chromatin remodelling gene SMARCA4 predispose to the development of SCCOHT. Our discovery provides women with a family history of early onset ovarian cancer with the option of being tested for germline mutations in SMARCA4, and provides patients with an answer as to why the cancer developed.” in Nature Genetics 46, 438-443 (2014)
Appointment of Dr. Gustavo Turecki as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill
It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr. Gustavo Turecki as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, effective March 1, 2015. Dr. Turecki succeeds Dr. Mimi Israël, who led the department with great distinction since 2007. We take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to Dr. Israël for her outstanding leadership throughout her term, and we wish her continued success.
Dr. Turecki is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill, where he currently is Associate Chair of Research and Academic Affairs. He has been an Attending Psychiatrist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute since 1999, and he is also Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, as well as head of its Depressive Disorders Program and Co-Director of the Douglas Bell-Canada Brain Bank. In addition, he is the Director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) funded provincial network on suicide and mood disorders.
Dr. Turecki studied at Escola Paulista de Medicina in Brazil, earning an MD, as well as a Masters of Science in Psychiatric Epidemiology/Genetics. He completed his Psychiatry residency at São Paulo General Hospital in Brazil, and he obtained a PhD in Neuroscience (Genetics) at McGill. He is a Fellow of several scientific and professional organizations, has served as President of the International Academy of Suicide Research, and currently sits on Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
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