Bernhard Baron Travelling Fellowship Prize awarded to Dr Jason Yap

Dr Jason Yap

Dr Jason Yap has been awarded the Bernhard Baron Travelling Fellowship Prize from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to learn a new surgical technique for the treatment of women with lower genital tract malignancies.

Dr Yap, an NIHR-funded Academic Clinical Lecturer in Gynaecology Oncology, has been awarded the Bernhard Baron Travelling Fellowship prize from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to visit the Universities of Leipzig and Essen in Germany to learn a new surgical technique for the treatment of women with lower genital tract malignancies.

The surgery is based on 'ontogenetic cancer field resection', an anatomical cancer field based on embryological development. The technique was pioneered by Professor Michael Höckel, who demonstrated that lower genital tract gynaecological malignancies, such as vulval and cervical cancers, spread according to the embryological anatomical boundaries and surgical resection based on these boundaries reduces the risk of local and distant disease recurrence (Lancet Oncology, 2018; PMID:20650508).

The prestigious Fellowship will not only allow Dr Yap to learn these new surgical techniques but will also give him an opportunity to undertake multi-centre UK/Europe-based surgical trials based on ontogenetic field resection for women with vulvar cancer.

Dr Yap hopes that by receiving this Fellowship he will be able to achieve:

  • Open dialogue and discussions with Professor Höckel with regards to his hypothesis of ontogenetic cancer fields
  • Learn about the basis and surgical technique in resecting vulvar cancer based on embryological boundaries and the ontogenetic classifications which have been described in his publication
  • Seek to develop new surgical and plastic reconstruction techniques based on ontogenetic cancer fields
  • Discuss the possibility of applying the ontogenetic field resection paradigm to vulvar cancer arising in a background of Lichen Sclerosus, given that these patients have the highest risk of developing a local disease recurrence according to our research
  • To seek collaboration in undertaking a multi-centre UK/Europe-based surgical trial based on ontogenetic field resection for women with vulvar cancer
  • To learn and observe how Professor Höckel sets up a “cancer field resection” service; experience that would be useful for in the future if Dr Yap were to set up a similar service within the NHS

"I am honoured and excited to have received the this prestigious travelling Fellowship as it provide me with an opportunity to amalgamate work on the ontogenetic cancer field into my current translational research program in lower female genital tract malignancies" – Dr Jason Yap.


One of Dr Yap's research interests involves understanding how “molecularly altered epithelia” contributes to the generation of a “field of cancerization”, which leads to the development of local disease recurrence in vulvar cancer following surgery. Professor Höckel and colleagues demonstrated that removal of the primary tumour and its underlying pre-malignant lesions, in accordance with the ontogenetic field, improves progression-free survival in a single centre prospective clinical study.

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