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Introducing March Guest Blogger Dr. Ryan Morin

Thank you to our February guest blogger Dr. Pete Tonseth for sharing the importance of PET/CT imaging. By bringing this critical technology to Vancouver Island , thousands of patients will have access to the most advanced treatment and care, closer to home. I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Ryan Morin, a scientist at BC Cancer’s Genome Science Centre, to the blog for March. Dr. Morin uses data generated from DNA sequencing to better understand cancer treatment resistance, relapse and metastasis, with a particular focus on lymphoma and pediatric cancers. The goal of Dr. Morin’s work is to uncover...

PET/CT Brings Hope for Future

To wrap up my blog, I’d like to highlight two exciting ways that the use of PET imaging is evolving: Medical isotopes are being investigated in Vancouver and at sites around the world to provide more specific options for imaging and treating cancer; and Theranostics—the integration of diagnostics and therapeutics in the individualized management of disease—holds promise for a more personalized approach to diagnosis and treatment for many types of cancer. In certain neuroendocrine tumours, we are now able to use gallium (NETRACER) to image the disease and lutetium to treat it. Similarly,...

Donors Transforming Cancer Treatment and Care

BC Cancer Foundation donors play an instrumental role in advancing cancer care in British Columbia. Their fundraising efforts ensure that the Agency is able to pursue projects that are essential for increasing knowledge and provide the very best treatment options for patients all across the province. One excellent example is the Functional Imaging cyclotron and research facility at the Vancouver Centre which supplies the PET/CT program with radiopharmaceuticals for both clinical and research studies. Without the support of donors, this world-class facility would not exist and many of the...

Interpreting PET/CT Images to Offer the Best Cancer Treatment

Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography, or PET/CT, is an imaging method that uses a sophisticated machine to generate images of patients following the injection of very small amounts of a medical isotope. As a Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine physician in the Functional Imaging Department at BC Cancer, my primary role is to interpret the PET/CT images obtained on one of the two scanners at the Vancouver Centre and then generate a report for the referring physician. In addition to looking at the images produced on the day, I review all the relevant previous imaging as well as...

Dr. Pete Tonseth: A Passion for Radiology

Hello, my name is Dr. Pete Tonseth and I’m very pleased to be sharing a bit about myself on the BC Cancer Foundation blog this month! I was born in Norway and moved often in my early years, living in Denmark, California and Washington before starting school in a small town in Norway. My family and I then moved to Ontario for a year before moving to Sidney in 1970, where we settled and I completed my elementary and secondary education. I was fortunate to have great teachers who were enthusiastic about what they taught. I think I was drawn to science since my father was a fiberglass engineer,...

Introducing February Guest Blogger Dr. Pete Tonseth

Thank you to our January guest blogger Dr. Bernie Eigl for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at clinical trials. We are fortunate to have a robust, innovative trials program here in B.C., one that our donors are very proud to support. I’m pleased to introduce our February guest blogger, Dr. Pete Tonseth, a radiologist and nuclear medicine physician at the BC Cancer Agency. By interpreting PET/CT images, Dr. Tonseth enables clinicians to provide patients with the best possible cancer treatment and care. We are working closely with donors to expand the BC Cancer Agency’s PET/CT imaging capacity...

Reflecting on the Pace of Cancer Discovery

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies,” Siddhartha Mukherjee quotes the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” to describe perfectly how clinical cancer research must move: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” I find myself reflecting on this quote very often. Cancer cells arise from us – they evolve and become resistant in response to every treatment that we have devised so far. So we keep working fastidiously to either overcome this resistance or to find a new approach that might eliminate the cancer...

B.C. Clinical Trials: A Unique Approach Achieves Results

Yesterday started off well but ended poorly. I saw Chris for his regular visit – he’d just returned from a vacation with his family and it was wonderful to see the pictures. He’d also just had another CT scan which showed further shrinkage of his cancer, so we were all pretty happy. At the end of my clinic I saw another young man who was not faring nearly as well, and who was now facing the reality that there simply are no good options left to knock his cancer down. Over my career, I’ve realized that while the thrill of success keeps me going, I also know that we will always have...

Finding New Hope Through Clinical Trials

As a medical oncologist, I specialize in treating about five cancer types, and the main focus of my current research is in bladder cancer. I’d like to describe a couple of the clinical trials we have been involved in lately. The first is a study comparing new immunotherapy treatments to our current standard of chemotherapy. Under normal circumstances our body’s immune system is constantly surveilling our cells and getting rid of damaged or mutated cells before they can cause trouble or become cancers. Therefore, when cancers grow in our bodies they must figure out a way to “hide” from the...

Achieving Great Things in B.C., Thanks to Donors

It’s an honour and privilege to be invited back as a BC Cancer Foundation guest blogger. It is hard to believe that it has already been four years since my first foray into blogging. Much has changed since then: I can finally say that I am a Vancouverite, as my family and I have settled into our new home; I have established a busy practice with a focus on bladder cancer; and some of the research projects I am involved in are developing well (more on that later). A few important things have also stayed the same (or improved). Under combined new leadership, both the BC Cancer Foundation and the...

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