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Women's Health Research Unit

About the Women's Health Research Unit (WHRU)

Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Director
Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Director

The Women's Health Research Unit (WHRU) supports research excellence dedicated to improving the health and lives of women. It is devoted to understanding the complex health issues that they are facing. In order to improve the quality of health services available to women, the WHRU focuses on and conducts research ranging from fundamental research to industry-sponsored clinical trials.

The WHRU conducts research in women's health and gynecology, specializing in gynecological oncology. Our multidisciplinary team includes clinical research coordinators, specialized oncology research nurses, gynecologists, gynecological oncologists, radiation oncologists, pharmacists, pathologists and radiologists, assuring our study participants of the highest quality of care. Our surgical services range from minimally invasive surgery, including robotic and laparoscopic techniques as well as sentinel lymph node mapping, to ultra-radical multi-organ abdominal and pelvic surgery for advanced cancer.

Dr. Claudia Martins, Associate Director
Dr. Claudia Martins, Associate Director

The WHRU is currently located at the Centre for Innovative Medicine (CIM) at the MUHC Glen Site. The Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities designed to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration. We have access to specialized equipment dedicated solely to research, including a Cardiopulmonary Functional Testing Platform, Medical Imaging Platform, Surgical Facility and an In-patient Unit.

Our team is highly qualified and experienced in industry-sponsored research (Phase I - Phase III studies). We are well trained in Health Canada Regulations, ICH-E6 GCPs, provincial and local regulations, the Tri-Council Policy Statement and our local RI‑MUHC Standard Operating Procedures. Furthermore, with the collaboration of the CIM, the WHRU provides expertise in the following areas of clinical research:

  • Protocol development/implementation
  • Regulatory and essential documents
  • Agreements, approvals and contracts
  • Ethics and human subjects protection
  • Enrolling and retaining participants, managing visits
  • Informed consent and counselling
  • Providing clinical care
  • Handling biomedical products
  • Investigational product (IP) management
  • Data management and collection (Electronic Case Report Forms (eCRFs) Systems)
  • Interactive web-based response systems (IWRS)
  • Risk, safety and adverse events management
  • Shipping and handling dangerous goods

In addition to industry research, we are experienced in investigator-initiated research and protocol development. The WHRU is currently conducting many investigator-initiated studies, including

  1. the DOvEE project: Diagnosing Ovarian & Endometrial Cancer Early to improve the rates of early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers;
  2. DOvEEgene phase II: developing and validating a novel molecular screening test for the early diagnosis of cancer of the uterus, tubes and ovaries; and
  3. DOvEEgene phase III: Detecting Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer Early using genomics, a study open to both symptomatic and asymptomatic women.