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Eric Yung: Collaborating to Bring Immunotherapy to Patients

Hello! My name is Eric Yung and I am the staff scientist and lab manager in the Holt Lab, which basically makes me responsible for all of the day-to-day activities of the lab. I’ve been involved in cancer research for almost a decade now and immunogenomics for the last two years. I got started due to scientific curiosity, really. I began my PhD studying viruses, HIV specifically. When the link was made between cancer and certain viruses (like HPV), I was curious about how that happened, and how we can use viruses to hopefully cure cancer. I’ve been using viral vectors as gene therapy delivery...

Dr. Richard Moore: Decoding the Immune Response

Thanks for taking time to read our immunogenomics blogs and for supporting our research at the BC Cancer Agency. I have always been fascinated with infectious agents and, in particular, viruses. This led to my focus on infectious agents that cause cancer and a strong interest in the human immune response. I pursued this interest during my graduate studies and postdoctoral work in Cambridge, UK, working on papillomavirus and retroviruses. Since 2003 I have been working for Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at the BC Cancer Agency and have continued this focus in my research...

Miruna Bala: Ensuring High Quality Data for Cancer Research

Hello everyone, my name is Miruna Bala and I am very happy for the opportunity to blog this month. I am the Quality Systems group leader for the Holt Lab at the Genome Sciences Centre and the immunotherapy program at the BC Cancer Agency, which means I am responsible for the design, implementation, monitoring and improvement of the Quality Management System (QMS). QMS ensures accurate, consistent and high quality data and processes are delivered in an efficient manner to our collaborators, and ultimately, to cancer patients. I have always been passionate about delivering high quality care and...

Dr. Robert Holt: What Motivates Me

I’m motivated by the success of new cancer treatments that activate a patient’s natural anti-cancer immunity. These positive results are hard won, following more than two decades of intensive research around the world, and unfortunately we don’t see the positive results in all patients. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that when we do research we do not know what will work and what won’t. There are steps forward and back. However, with continued effort on multiple fronts, the factors that underlie successful treatment can be identified and used to inform the development of...

Dr. Robert Holt: Helping Immune Cells Win

Growing up in the lower mainland, I developed the need to figure out how things worked and, if they were broken, how to fix them. The complexities of living systems that derive from the inner workings of cells were the most fascinating and incomprehensible for me, so they were the ultimate challenge. Cellular properties are programmed in DNA, so to understand cells, and to understand living systems, it was necessary to know their genetic code – this is the direction I took. After university (at UBC and U of A), I moved to the USA to join the initial efforts to fully decode human DNA. When...

Introducing November Guest Bloggers: The Immunogenomics Team

Thank you to our October guest bloggers, the scientists and clinicians from the Deeley Research Centre. Thanks to the talent of this team and the tremendous generosity of BC Cancer Foundation donors , immunotherapy clinical trials will be getting underway soon, for the benefit of British Columbians! This month, we’re pleased to welcome a group that works in close collaboration with the immunotherapy clinical trials team. Scientists in Dr. Robert Holt’s laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre are experts in the field of immunogenomics – the genetic sequencing and analysis...

Using Genetically Engineered Viruses to Enhance Immunity

Hello, my name is Kwame Twumasi-Boateng and it is my pleasure to wrap up a month of blogging with my immunotherapy colleagues at the BC Cancer Agency! Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow working at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) – a position I started in January 2013. During graduate school, I studied molecular details of aging and immunity in tiny worms. At the conclusion of my studies, I decided that I wanted to apply my training to a real world medical challenge – I felt cancer immunotherapy was an important problem that I could apply my skills to. Immunotherapy and Oncolytic Viruses...

Dr. Julie Nielsen: Developing T Cell-Based Therapies

Hello, I’m Dr. Julie Nielsen and I am happy to share an inside look at my work in immunotherapy on the BC Cancer Foundation blog. I started working at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) in October 2007. I had previously conducted research in cancer and medical genetics and joined the DRC because I wanted to help develop innovative strategies for treating cancer. The power and specificity of the immune system makes immunotherapy a very promising approach. The conversations I have with patients motivate me in my daily work – I am currently developing T cell-based therapies for cancer,...

David Kroeger: Strengthening the Immune Response to Cancer

Hello, my name is David Kroeger and I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC). My PhD research at the University of Saskatchewan focused on understanding basic aspects of how T cells function. I came to the DRC hoping to use my expertise in T cell biology to help cancer patients. Decades of research have proven that the immune system has the capacity to recognize and destroy cancerous cells. However, only recently have we begun to be truly successful in harnessing the immune system for cancer therapy. A particular interest of mine involves tumour-infiltrating B cells and...

$4.2 Million Raised by BC Cancer Foundation Donors to Launch Immunotherapy Clinical Trials

Hello everyone, I’d like to briefly interrupt our October bloggers to share some very exciting news! Last night, BC Cancer Foundation donors came together at the 11 th annual Inspiration Gala and it was announced that $4.2 million had been raised to launch immunotherapy clinical trials at the BC Cancer Agency. This remarkable display of philanthropy was made possible through the contributions of more than 5,000 British Columbians who responded to a dollar-for-dollar match offer of up to $1 million gift from the Robert L. Conconi Foundation, and the tremendous generosity of Inspiration Gala...

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