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Introducing April Guest Blogger: Robyn Roscoe

Thank you to our March guest bloggers, Drs. Jessica McAlpine and Aly Karsan, who shared how receiving BC Cancer Foundation Clinical Investigator Awards will allow them to build upon their respective research. This month, we’re excited to welcome Robyn Roscoe, who is the Director of Management and Administration at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre, where she has been a project manager since 2003. Robyn will share how she got involved in health care and how her skills and expertise in management, organization, and communication enables the research to happen. One of her biggest...

Research leads to better understanding and diagnosis of blood cancers

Last week I blogged about what led me to study blood cancers and how they come about. This week, I will update you on some our previous work, and the work that is currently being supported by the BC Cancer Foundation. A number of years ago, my lab became very interested in learning about a kind of blood cancer called myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS. This cancer starts out slowly, but because any disruption of the blood system affects the production of blood cells, symptoms can become obvious even when the cancer is not aggressive. The blood system produces red blood cells that help carry...

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 disease or even to be able to diagnose diseases was something that continued to gnaw at me even after moving to Canada. The desire to understand how things worked led me to a genetics lab while I was at Queen’s...

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 endometrial cancer have some sort of spotting or irregular bleeding alerting them that something is wrong. Then in their doctor’s office, or in a simple surgical procedure, a sample of the endometrial lining is obtained. This...

Most common gynecologic cancer gets boost

It is a pleasure to be able to contribute to the BC Cancer Foundation blog again! Since I last blogged almost a year ago, we have gained further insight on the behavior of different endometrial cancers, and I had the pleasure of joining another Ride to Conquer Cancer last summer, in somewhat epic conditions. Tales of adventure on the latter are for another day. But I would like to share some of our research team’s progress in endometrial cancer. First, thanks to an incredibly generous donation by a family who was impacted by endometrial cancer we have been able to complete biologic analysis...

Introducing March Guest Bloggers: Drs. Jessica McAlpine and Aly Karsan

Thank you to our February guest blogger, Dr. Malcolm Moore, who shared some very interesting thoughts on philanthropy and research, and what he sees for the future of cancer care. This month, we’re excited to welcome Drs. Jessica McAlpine and Aly Karsan, both of whom recently received BC Cancer Foundation Clinical Investigator Awards . The Clinical Investigator Awards were established in 2013, the result of a $1.5 million gift to the Foundation from Thomas Tait. Shortlisted candidates are selected from a group of high caliber applicants by a panel representing leading cancer research...

Cancer research continues to reveal exciting advances

Cancer is a complex disease, and so cancer research is by necessity multifaceted and involves lots of collaboration. We are fortunate in B.C. to have strong research programs. We do need to pay attention to research and programs in health promotion, cancer prevention, and early detection through screening as these can have profound effects on our overall goal of reducing the burden and death from cancer. Expanding treatment options In the area of biomedical and clinical research, two approaches—cancer genomics and immunotherapy—have seen extraordinary progress and excitement in the past few...

Philanthropy and Research: Together, we are seeing positive results

The BC Cancer Agency has a mandate to provide and coordinate cancer care in B.C., ensuring patients receive high quality care that is accessible and available to all. We also have a strong research mission as part of our mandate, and aspire to be seen nationally and internationally as a leader in cancer care and research. Practically, this means ensuring that the patients today receive the best care possible, and that we work towards improving care and treatment in the future. This drives our research mission and motivates everyone who works at the Agency. To ensure that we can meet our own...

Inspired by the passion

The first few months since joining the BC Cancer Agency have flown by. I am enjoying my new role—every day is different and presents new challenges. I have travelled to all six of our centres and meeting so many of our staff, who are passionate about making the system better, has been the most inspiring part of my job. I also spend a fair amount of time working with the BC Cancer Foundation to support their critical role in raising funds for the BC Cancer Agency. I’ve been asked a few times what my biggest learnings have been in the new role. It’s an interesting question. The first would be...

Sometimes the best things aren’t planned

It might come as a surprise, but I never really considered a career in medicine until my third year of university. I wanted to be an accountant, but it all changed when I developed mono and had to visit a number of doctors. It was during one of the visits that I realized that a career helping people who were unwell would be challenging and rewarding, so I switched from accounting and applied to medical school. Even then, I never imagined cancer to be my focus. At medical school, there was very little exposure to Oncology in the curriculum. My main interests at the time were Cardiology and...

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