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Saskatoon Cancer Centre leads country with new ovarian cancer testing

Women with ovarian cancer have been given new hope thanks to a donation that helped purchase world-class equipment for the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.

Shelley Meier is hoping to minimize painful treatments as she battles ovarian cancer, something she just found out she had six months ago.

Now she’s counting on a ground breaking treatment option. Part of the trial she’s involved in will provide important answers as to which treatments are worth the effort.

“Is the time that I will gain worth the pain of the side effects, that’s the question that this trial seeks to answer,” Meier told CTV News.

It’s a trial initiated by Dr. Laura Hopkins and her team, with money from The Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.

Vital equipment was funded by the Kramer family in honour of Donald E. Kramer, founder of Kramer Tractors.

“This next generation sequencer generously donated by the Kramer family has enabled us to open a unique and first in Canada clinical trial in ovarian cancer,” Dr. Hopkins said.

The sequencer machine is worth $500,000 and helps arm patients with key information beforehand. (Carla Shynkaruk / CTV News)

The work is geared towards women with advanced ovarian cancer and, according to Hopkins, could potentially lead a national and global shift in ovarian cancer care.

“It will give patients a precise estimate about the amount of benefit they can gain by taking a new class of drugs called PARP Inhibitors,” Hopkins, provincial lead for gynecology/oncology told CTV News.

Patients then fall into two groups based on the results. One group will benefit from the drug while in the second group, the benefits are not clear.

The sequencer machine is worth $500,000 and helps arm patients with key information beforehand.

“Why would you want to take a toxic therapy unless you knew you were going to benefit. That’s kind of the kernel at the centre of this trial,” Hopkins said.

It’s expected the machine will benefit all cancer patients eventually. It will also provide tumor testing for patients with prostate cancer.

One-hundred women are involved in the current trial.

Meier is one of the first 10 to sign up while she waits for word that her cancer is in remission. She remains hopeful.

“Our greatest hope is that remission will offer me a good quality of life.” Top Stories


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