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A relationship with cancer cells

Hello again! As I mentioned last week, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Deeley Research Centre with Dr. Julian Lum. I thought I’d share a bit about the research that I do with you this week. As many of you may be aware, researchers at the Deeley Research Centre are interested in a powerful new kind of treatment for cancer called immunotherapy. While immunotherapy has seen unprecedented success in different cancer types, there is still room for improvement. The need for a greater understanding of immunotherapy and the necessity for improving current therapies are what motivate me. It might...

Finding purpose in research

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the Deeley Research Centre located in Victoria, BC, and I am honored to be the guest blogger this month. I grew up on the Island, in Nanaimo, but decided to cross the pond to complete my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. By that time I had lost several family members to cancer and felt the need to contribute to cancer research in the province. While volunteering at the BC Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver in 2007, I realized that research was the field for me. For the next five years I studied how a cell survival process...

Introducing August Guest Blogger: Dr. Lindsay DeVorkin

I am delighted to introduce Dr. Lindsay DeVorkin, as this month’s guest blogger. Lindsay is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the BC Cancer Agency’s Deeley Research Centre, in Victoria. Building on her graduate studies work in molecular biology and biochemistry, she is now investigating the role of autophagy in the tumour microenvironment, and how it can be modulated to enhance the immune response against cancer. Autophagy allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Over the next month, Lindsay will share more about her innovative research and also how she is...

Advancing cancer care with new technology

The BC Cancer Agency is recognized as one of the world’s leading cancer care and research centres. We’ve achieved this in large part by being able to attract some of the best talent. But having the brightest minds will only take you so far if you don’t give them the latest tools and equipment. That’s why in our quest for new knowledge, the BC Cancer Foundation is investing in new technology through two of our upcoming events— Inspiration Gala and Hope Couture —that will keep B.C. at the forefront of cancer research and care. New technology also means people can get their treatment as close to...

Conquering cancer on two wheels

In my previous post I mentioned the BC Cancer Agency’s OVCARE team and the great work they’ve done to position themselves as one of the world’s leading ovarian cancer research teams. They’re not only conquering cancer in the lab, but they’re also doing it on two wheels. With its many supporters, OVCARE has participated every year in The Ride to Conquer Cancer, and is one of the top fundraising teams. Over the past seven years they have raised more than $780,000, and are on track to reach an amazing $1 million dollars with this year’s event. Collectively, the Ride has raised more than $70...

Investing in people's lives

Philanthropy and research is truly a partnership. We can have a lab full of talented and passionate researchers, but if we don’t have the dollars to fund the research, then the leading-edge discoveries that the BC Cancer Agency has become renowned for wouldn’t happen. There are lots of examples, but I will highlight one—OVCARE—BC’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Traditionally, ovarian cancer had been poorly funded and under researched, and outcomes were generally poor for a significant number of women. Then the idea for OVCARE was created by Drs. David Huntsman, Dianne Miller and Blake...

It's about the people for foundation president

I am very pleased to be this month’s guest blogger. I joined the BC Cancer Foundation as its new President and CEO in mid-April and since then I have been so inspired by the many incredible donors who support the BC Cancer Agency’s brilliant and compassionate team of physicians and scientists. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about me. I grew up in New Jersey – yes, I am American (and now also Canadian) – and moved to Vancouver from Boston in 2008 with my husband and two children. Our decision to move west and emigrate was a very purposeful decision for both professional and...

Shining a spotlight on medical physics

Wow, time flies! This is my final post. I have tried over the past few weeks to provide some insight into what it means to be a medical physicist--the unique value we bring to the health care system, and to show you an example of the type of work we do to improve cancer care. I have highlighted the value of investing in our future: bright young graduate students and residents. In this light, I want to share with you that we are very excited here in Kelowna, as we have just had our new BC Cancer Agency/UBC Okanagan medical physics graduate program approved. It has been a tremendous amount of...

Planting seeds for future researchers

Last week I introduced some exciting, innovative work we are doing at the BC Cancer Agency – Southern Interior on permanent breast seed implant treatments for breast cancer. Today, I’d like to talk a bit about the vital importance of young physics trainees in pushing forward new treatments. Engaging bright, young physics trainees is, for me, one of the true joys of my work. I do this through my involvement in the Medical Physics Graduate Programs at the University of Victoria and now at UBC - Okanagan, and in my role at the BC Cancer Agency as Director of our provincial Medical Physics...

Contributing to Innovation in Health Care – Part 2

Yesterday, I shared how an innovative treatment for breast cancer is being offered in Kelowna, which has the promise to be implemented more widely and benefit more women. Since the beginning of our Permanent Breast Seed Implants program, we have had exactly this goal in mind: to innovate and evolve the technique to enable widespread clinical implementation. We aim specifically to improve and standardize the technique, so that other centres can adopt the procedure. I’m proud to say that we have already made significant progress. Some of the improvements we have developed include: A...

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