Gina Ogilvie, MD

Cervical cancer is highly preventable. However, it remains a health burden and is the fourth most common cancer in females around the world. Cervical cancer is caused by “high-risk” types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Screening for cervical cancer using HPV is much more effective than the Pap test. However, HPV screening alone cannot determine if an HPV infection will resolve, or if it will progress to cervical cancer. We need to find better ways to identify the people with HPV who have the highest risk of cancer.

The microbiome of the vagina may play an important role in progression to cancer. Understanding more about the vaginal microbiome in those with high-risk HPV could help us determine when an HPV infection may resolve or when it may progress. This knowledge could lead to earlier and better treatment and prevent cervical cancer from developing.

This research will be done in British Columbia, Canada. We will determine the microbiome characteristics of an existing set of cervical samples. We will then link these characteristics to over 10 years of cervical cancer screening results. We will explore if certain microbiome characteristics can determine whether HPV progresses to cervical pre-cancer or if HPV will clear. These findings can lead to important advancements in HPV screening for cervical cancer. This study has strong potential to impact global cervical cancer prevention and treatment standards. The findings are especially important as screening programs around the world shift to HPV-based cervical cancer screening.

Location: BC Cancer Research Centre/University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Proposal: FOCAL MOMENTUM (MicrObiome Monitoring for ElimiNaTion of Cervical Cancer) Study
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