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Questions of medicine and science formed half way ‘round the world

My path to a career in science and medicine was convoluted, but not without direction. I grew up in east Africa on an island in the Indian Ocean. Both my maternal grandparents died at very young ages of undiagnosed conditions. While the setting was idyllic, the reason for my grandparents’ deaths, or rather the lack of a reason bothered me.

This great gap in understanding—the causes of...

Research leads to increased options for cancer treatment

In my previous post I shared how we have learned so much about endometrial cancer by analyzing the molecular features of the tumours.

Recently, we have been really excited in showing that these molecular features can be determined on endometrial samples, and do not require analysis of the whole uterine specimen, such as from a hysterectomy. 

Most women diagnosed with...

Bench to Bedside: How Research Discoveries are Leading to Solutions for Gynecologic Cancers

A nice thing about being junior in your career is that sometimes if you work hard, think a bit, and play well with others, people can give you the benefit of the doubt in believing you might be able to achieve something. My first years at the BC Cancer Agency were like this; I came here with relatively rudimentary research experience, no protected research time in my new position per say, but...

Dr. Jessica McAlpine: My Journey to a Career in Ovarian Cancer Research

Thanks for the invitation to be part of this blog and to share research discoveries from the Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OVCARE).

I am a local girl: I was born in Vancouver (at Vancouver General Hospital) and both my parents and both sets of grandparents have lived in Vancouver for most of their lives. I did my undergraduate...

A Significant Role: How BC Cancer Foundation Donors Support the BC Cancer Agency

The BC Cancer Foundation is a valuable partner to the BC Cancer Agency. By supporting the work of scientists and clinicians, BC Cancer Foundation donors are helping to reduce the impact of cancer on the community and elevate the excellence of BC Cancer Agency centres across the province.

I arrived in B.C. in 2003. At that time, prostate cancer was primarily treated via surgery or...

Introducing June Guest Blogger Dr. Kim Chi

Thank you to Dr. Peter Watson for a month of fascinating insights from the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre. From biobanking to breast cancer research and immunotherapy, Dr. Watson highlighted the many ways donors are making a difference on the island and beyond.

We’re returning to the mainland for the month of June, with guest blogger Dr. Kim Chi. Dr. Chi is a medical...

A Look Inside the Tumour Tissue Repository and Final Thoughts

The BC Cancer Agency’s Tumour Tissue Repository (TTR) is another example of a biobank that owes much of its success to generous donations to the BC Cancer Foundation. The TTR provides support for PREDICT to operate and collect blood samples and focuses on collecting cancer tissue specimens after surgical and medical procedures. The TTR has created a standardized collection of over 4,500 tissue...

Biobanks: Critical to Progress in Cancer Research

This week I would like to talk about biobanks and tell you a little more about how they work.

Biobanks operate by coordinating a process to approach patients to ask them to give their consent to access their tissues and health information. Tissues are removed in the course of medical procedures to diagnose and treat cancer and a portion of these tissues are often left over after...

Discovering a Link Between Breast Cancer Research and Immunotherapy

As I described earlier this week, my colleagues and I had recently discovered a link between resistance to hormone therapy in breast cancer patients and the immune system, and we turned to our colleagues at the Deeley Research Centre to help us advance this important work.  

We all have an immune system in our bodies that is designed to detect and eliminate foreign agents (like bacteria...

An Introduction to Pathology and Biobanking

In my previous post I described how I came to be a pathologist, scientist, and a biobanker. My colleagues have written fascinating posts about their roles on this blog. Many are scientists, some are pathologists and a few are biobankers too, but I don't think they explained the last two roles. So I will fill in that gap today:

Cancer patients meet many people at the BC Cancer Agency who...

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