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Immune Response to Ovarian and other Gynecological Cancers (IROC)

The IROC research project was established in 2007 by clinicians and researchers at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC), within the BC Cancer – Victoria site.

IROC aims to enhance our understanding of the biology and immune response to gynecological cancers. 

IROC is made possible by patients who generously agree to donate samples of blood, tissue, and ascites fluids, when these are not needed for clinical diagnosis and care. Patients also give their permission to be contacted in the future by our research team to discuss participation in new research projects.


IROC stands for Immune Response to Ovarian and other gynecological Cancers. These types of cancer are challenging diseases to diagnose and to treat, and there is an urgent need to identify new ways to improve outcomes. 

 The goals of IROC are:

  • to track how patients’ immune systems respond to their tumor before, during, and after treatment;
  • to develop immune-based treatments (immunotherapies) for gynecological cancers;
  • to generate knowledge that can help us to design new immunotherapy clinical trials for our patients.

Research Highlights

Major Achievements

  • Provided over 250 patients with ovarian and other gynecological cancers an opportunity to participate in research.
  • Published many internationally peer-reviewed scientific studies about new breakthroughs in our understanding of the immune response to ovarian and related cancers.
  • Supported the education of numerous graduate and undergraduate science students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Created a state-of-the-art clinical trials program to offer innovative immunotherapies to patients at BC Cancer.

Process for Patients


Gynaecological cancer patients are offered the opportunity to participate in IROC by their surgeon or oncologist. If they are interested in the program, further details are provided by research personnel of the Tumor Tissue Repository (TTR), which is a part of the DRC.     

IROC participants are asked to: (1) provide blood samples for up to ten years to be used for future cancer research; (2) provide permission to access their tissue/fluid for future use; and (3) provide permission to be contacted to learn about future research projects. 

Patients with cancers who wish to participate in IROC are encouraged to discuss participation in research with their surgeon or oncologist.


Meet the Research Team


The Deeley Research Centre (DRC) manages the scientific and administrative aspects of IROC.

The Biobanking and Biospecimen Research Services (BBRS) program and its TTR unit at the DRC provide oversight for biobanking processes, including patient recruitment and biospecimen management.