Vancouver, B.C. – A $2.5 million gift to the BC Cancer Foundation from the Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation will dramatically broaden the capacity for comprehensive pre-clinical research at the BC Cancer Agency —accelerating advancements in cancer care. 

“The generosity of the Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation has solidified the BC Cancer Agency’s unique research capabilities across Canada, with the power to quicken the pace of discovery and advance patient care,” says Douglas Nelson, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. 
 
A $1 million portion of the gift will support the acquisition of a three-dimensional CT imaging and radiation therapy machine and a micro SPECT imager—combined, these tools will advance the development of novel imaging, treatment, and nanomedicine devices. 
 
“For the first time we can perform preclinical research that will combine chemotherapy and radiation in many, difficult to treat cancers,” says Dr. Mohamed Khan who leads radiation oncology and research into nanomedicine at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre. “The new equipment will marry all of the treatment modalities in a research setting and translate into something useful in the clinic.”
 
Nanomedicine is a growing area of cancer research as the devices—1000 times smaller than a cell— can transport chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to a tumour while protecting the rest of the body from the impact of the treatment. With the new tools, researchers can visualize where the nanodevices travel; whether they concentrate the treatment in the tumour; and then determine the best timing of combined external beam radiation therapy. 
 
Solving a major research hurdle, the equipment will allow Dr. Khan and colleagues to replicate what’s being done in the clinic, taking findings from the ‘bench to bedside’ and importantly in-reverse from bedside to bench. 
 
In addition, half-a-million from the gift will purchase an Illumina High Sequencer 2000, used in next generation DNA and RNA sequencing for studies looking at the genetic mutations responsible for cancers and a critical component in the shift toward personalized medicine. 
 
The gift will also support two years of an annual grant competition, recently named the Milan & Maureen Ilich Innovation Support Fund, where the BC Cancer Foundation provides funding for small equipment needs that accelerate priority cancer research initiatives at the Agency. The 2012 competition is currently in progress, providing critical research equipment throughout the province.  
 
Since 1995, The Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation has given over $3 million to the BC Cancer Foundation, which has enabled the BC Cancer Agency to acquire vital imaging, therapy, and sequencing equipment that greatly accelerate innovative cancer research and improve outcomes for thousands of patients.
 
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The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

 

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.