The SAMRC/UCT Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre comprises of a research team that is unique in the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences due to its diversity and combination of clinical, basic science and public health focus that undertake cutting edge research. We are a comprehensive cancer research centre fostering multidisciplinary collaboration between basic scientists, public health researchers and clinicians.


Our purpose is to understand the burden of gynaecological cancer in SA, to develop preventative strategies and to improve quality of care.

 Our values include innovative research, patient-centred care, enhancement of health policy, resource allocation and health-systems development.

Key Areas

  • Timely diagnosis of gynaecological cancers
  • Holistic sexuality post gynaecological cancer treatment
  • Encourage teamwork among scientists and clinicians
  • Create a specialised biobank (collection of relevant research and data) and data-capturing system
  • Develop a registry (statistics source) that reflects the burden of disease
  • Establish the infrastructure and skills needed for real-time data-capturing (research nurses, for example)
  • Prevent new and advanced cervical cancer cases by using point of care diagnostic tests and similar initiatives
  • Develop new and experimental vaccines for the Human Papilloma Virus (a group of viruses known as ‘HPV’ which increase a patient’s chance of developing cancer)
  • Study therapeutic HPV vaccinations
  • Identify genetic markers linked to the progression and regression of gynaecological cancers
  • Monitor and evaluate HPV vaccination programmes
  • Establish effective ways to treat patients’ symptoms (pain relief) in regions with limited resources
  • Research the causes of late-onset cervical cancer
  • Promote the use of mobile technology for client follow-ups
  • Investigate the impact of HIV infection on recurring non-HPV related cancers
  • Produce publications in relevant industry journals


The SAMRC/UCT Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre has formed a collaboration with clinicians at the Oncology Unit of Frere Hospital (East London), Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital (Mthatha) and Walter Sisulu University, and aims to provide research capacity for clinicians at our research sites, and assist in addressing the burden of disease.

GCRC has developed a patient data collection database which is similar to the database used at Groote Schuur Hospital, which will capture basic information on all women with gynaecological cancers. These databases will enable GCRC to perform a thorough clinical audit to compare types, stage and survival of cancers in the different geographic locations and to inform evidence-based clinical governance. The information collected from the oncology centres will provide us with good geographical data on cancer distribution in women living in the Eastern Cape.

Capacity building and mentoring

One of the key values of GCRC is to capacitate staff through mentorship and provide research capacity, including the members of GCRC and doctors from less resourced areas such as the Eastern Cape. The members of GCRC in the Eastern Cape have been mentored and trained to establish and maintain a gynaecological cancer registry at Frere Hospital and at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital (NMAH).

The SAMRC/UCT GCRC also established a Colposcopy database in 2010, which was subsequently moved to the REDCAP database system and is supported by UCT. This database has been used by Registrars for MMed and Fellowship theses. Various publications have emanated from SAMRC/UCT GCRC using information from this database. The purpose of this database is to collate information on patient demographics, pathology reports, colposcopy findings and treatments offered with treatment outcomes.

WEBINARS: Strengthening Capacity to Implement Screen and Treat services for Prevention of Cervical Cancer in under-resourced areas in South Africa.

As part of building capacity to implement cervical cancer screening in Eastern Cape and Limpopo, we started a series of webinars, every 2 weeks in the 2nd half of 2020.  Faculty were drawn from UCT and Columbia University, New York.

The course is designed to provide tools for understanding the rationale for cervical cancer screening, the historical precedents, the barriers to national and regional screening and the many advantages of early detection and treatment of cervical cancer and its precursors. It is also designed to equip relevant stakeholders with knowledge and skills to set up screening services using the Screen and Treat (SAT) approach in low-resource settings.


Ms Lavinia Petersen

Project Manager

Mr Elvis Kidzeru

Data Manager