Grant worth $600,000 awarded for the study of stem cells and ovarian cancer

September 23, 2014

Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden has been awarded a five-year grant valued at $600,461 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study the role that stem cells play in ovulatory wound repair in women. The surface layer of cells on the ovary – known as the epithelium – is disrupted and must repair itself every time a woman ovulates. This repair process seems to put them at risk of becoming cancer cells and initiating the growth of deadly tumors. Dr. Vanderhyden has identified a subset of ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells in mice that have characteristics resembling stem cells. Stem cells in other tissues play important roles in normal tissue repair. Dr. Vanderhyden and her team are planning to study the OSE cells from mice and human ovaries to determine how they contribute to ovulation. This study has two aims: 1) to confirm the identity of stem cells in the surface epithelium obtained from mouse and human ovaries, and determine their ability to repair the ovarian surface after ovulation; and 2) to determine the factors that regulate the population and function of OSE stem cells and how they might lead to increased risk of cancer. Grant summaries are available through CIHR’s Funded Research Database.

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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