VICTORIA, BC – With the strike of a hammer, Robert and Alex Conconi ceremoniously begin construction of a lab where life-saving cancer treatments will be made.

Victoria is a scientific hub for cancer immunotherapy research in Canada, and today’s milestone takes the research team one giant step closer to bringing customized Adoptive T Cell Therapies to the clinic. This new lab, called a clean room, will be a highly specialized space where cancer-fighting T cells will be produced for patients in B.C.

“We are thrilled to see the clean room construction underway as this lab will be the foundation of our immunotherapy clinical trials program, set to launch in early 2017,” said Dr. Brad Nelson, Director, BC Cancer Agency Deeley Research Centre.

Members of the Conconi family toured the Deeley Research Centre and took part in the ceremonial groundbreaking honouring their $2-million donation to the BC Cancer Foundation which was instrumental in expediting the lab construction and supporting the advancements of Adoptive T Cell Therapy from a scientific project to a patient treatment.

“We are quite excited at the prospect of immunotherapy offering a better solution to current standard of care, and we are especially excited to have those treatments available to patients in B.C.,” said Alex Conconi, on behalf of the family and Robert L. Conconi Foundation.

The BC Cancer Foundation is the direct fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency, supporting Dr. Brad Nelson and the immunotherapy research team over the past twelve years to advance this concept from lab-based research to an entirely new treatment for cancer patients.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have the combined forces of generous donors like the Conconi family and the world-renowned expertise of Dr. Brad Nelson and his team, forging ahead with promising treatment solutions for cancer patients in B.C.,” said Lou Del Gobbo, Interim President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

Adoptive T Cell Therapy is a form of immunotherapy where a cancer patient’s T Cells (specifically the immune cells already waging a battle against the cancer) are extracted, activated and expanded into massive numbers. The T Cells are then infused back into the patient’s bloodstream to mount an effective cancer-destroying response.

Immunotherapy is a term referring to a variety of emerging treatments that engage the patient’s immune system to effectively eliminate disease. It is one of the most promising areas in cancer research and care today. 

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For more information, photos, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Allison Colina
Communications Manager
t. 604.707.5934
e. allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca

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 learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.