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Combining immunotherapy and chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer

Thanks to everyone who had a chance to look at last week’s blog. This week I will share with you a little bit more about my everyday work, and discuss an exciting new clinical trial now underway for pancreatic cancer. One of the fulfilling aspects of working as a clinician-researcher is that every day is different. Several days of the week I spend in the oncology clinic at BC Cancer. We have a great clinical team, including a nurse practitioner, family doctor specializing in oncology, and multiple medical trainees including medical students, residents, and medical oncology fellows. In...

Introducing July guest blogger Dr. Daniel Renouf

Thank you to Dr. Ma for updating us on the status of VERO at BC Cancer. It is exciting to read about the first patient procedure that took place and to know that our generous donors are fuelling this progress. We are pleased to welcome back to our blog Dr. Daniel Renouf, medical oncologist and co-director of Pancreas Centre BC, for the month of July. Dr. Renouf will discuss the life-saving research advancements underway for pancreatic cancer, the deadliest cancer facing Canadians today. He will also highlight the impact of the 10th annual Cypress Challenge, which takes place Aug. 13. Thanks...

First patient treated with VERO

It is very exciting for me to share with you that the first patient was treated using VERO last week. It was a true testament of the power of philanthropy to improve patient outcomes. The first patient treated with VERO is a patient with cancer of the bile duct. We opted to treat them using VERO because of the pivoting ring feature of the machine, which allowed us to maneuver the radiation beams to target the tumour, while sparing most of the heart from significant irradiation. This is a basic function of VERO, yet in that there is already an advantage over the most sophisticated treatments...

Tapping into VERO's full potential

One of the most exciting aspects about VERO is how it will improve patient treatments well into the future. Indeed, part of the reason why we selected technology like VERO at BC Cancer was that we saw its future developmental potential. We are just at the beginning stages of using VERO’s full potential. As time goes on, we will be rolling out increasingly sophisticated treatment techniques and that is what makes it so exciting to work with. Every patient who undergoes treatment on the VERO is part of our ethics-approved research protocol where we analyze the many ways in which the technology...

VERO: a game-changer in cancer treatment

The VERO machine, now installed at BC Cancer, is the most advanced stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system available in the world. SBRT involves delivering multiple beams of radiation from outside the body in a concentrated (high dose) manner from various directions, effectively targeting a tumour from every possible angle. It’s a highly effective form of treatment for those who have cancers that are hard to address through surgery, such as head and neck cancers, or in cases where a patient’s cancer is surrounded by healthy tissue that can be easily injured with conventional...

My journey to radiation oncology at BC Cancer

My name is Dr. Roy Ma and I work as a radiation oncologist here at BC Cancer. It is a pleasure to be your guest blogger this month. I’ll be blogging about my work with VERO – the most technologically advanced radiotherapy delivery system that is now installed at BC Cancer. It’s an incredible feat made possible thanks to the generosity of donors to the BC Cancer Foundation. First, I’d like to introduce myself and share with you my journey to the BC Cancer Agency. I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver when I was eleven. I went to high school here and then went on to UBC for both...

Introducing June guest blogger Dr. Roy Ma

Thank you to our May guest bloggers Drs. Ryna Levy Milne and Kristin Campbell for sharing with us the importance of healthy eating and exercise during cancer treatment. We are excited about the second phase of the NExT study, which will directly benefit cancer patients across British Columbia. I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Roy Ma, radiation oncologist at BC Cancer, as our June guest blogger. Dr. Roy Ma will share his work with VERO – the most technologically advanced radiotherapy delivery system available today, now installed at BC Cancer. The machine, exclusively funded by our generous donors,...

What's next in cancer research and care

We are gearing up for a second phase of the NExT study. For Phase II, we are working with Dr. Levy-Milne in her role as provincial lead for therapeutic oncology services at BC Cancer Agency on three key next steps with the aim to increase access to this type of exercise and healthy eating programming for cancer survivors in British Columbia. The first step is to hire a clinical exercise physiologist or physiotherapist at the BC Cancer Agency who can act as a provincial resource for both healthcare providers and patients. This individual will ensure the most up to date information is available...

Celebrating the impact of patients on cancer research

The patients who participated in the NExT study offered a wealth of information on what worked and what didn’t work, which informs us on how to proceed with Phase II. For example, part of the study focused on testing new ways to individualize exercise for each patient, according to the ups and downs of chemotherapy treatment. The participants provided feedback at each study visit on whether they met the exercise target for that visit and if not, why not. We have used these results to further refine our approach and, when we present this research, we receive a lot of interest from other...

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