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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...

A Petabase: no ordinary number

As Head of Bioinformatics at the Genome Sciences Centre, my role is to oversee the computational analysis of the DNA sequence data that we are generating. While sequencing technologies can now rapidly produce copious amounts of raw DNA sequence, computational challenges remain.

Currently, we have over nine petabytes of disk space – that’s nine million gigabytes, or the equivalent space...

How Philanthropy Fuels Cancer Research

BC Cancer Foundation donors have been vital in establishing my research lab and the projects that my group currently has underway. 

When I was reaching the end of my postdoctoral fellowship and looking for job opportunities as an independent investigator, I didn’t think that coming back to B.C. would be a possibility. Although I had a very novel skill set and research platform, I was...

Dr. Marcel Bally: A Look at the Future of Cancer Treatment

Looking into the future for me is always about looking backwards.

When I first became interested in using drug delivery systems for cancer treatment over 30 years ago, one of the hottest research topics concerned “antibody-conjugated toxic drugs” (antibodies are proteins that can be designed to recognize cancer cells).

This research idea faltered and stumbled because our immune...

How Philanthropy Fuels Research Into New Cancer Treatments

It has been recognized for a long time that treatment outcomes for patients with cancer improve when drugs are used in combination. Yet my research into drug combinations formulated as a single product is still considered controversial.

Concepts developed decades ago recognized that two drugs could behave better than expected based on the activity of each drug when used alone - this is...

Drug Development: Looking for Effective Combinations

My work with reformulating the anticancer drug vincristine led to a pivotal moment in my training and development as a scientist at the BC Cancer Agency.

I was given the opportunity to discuss my work with a group of world renowned oncologists and five minutes into the conversation, a clinician asked, “Why are you contemplating developing a new...

Drug Development: From Laboratory Research to New Treatment Options for Cancer

If you read last week’s posts, then you’ll know I got started at the BC Cancer Agency after being terminated (without cause : ) from a local biotechnology company. This company was financed by a US company that could no longer justify maintaining a research operation in Canada – another long story which I can share after you get a few beers in me. 

I was given an opportunity to work as...

A Moment in Time: How a Background in Biology Led Me to the BC Cancer Agency

So, how did I end up with a career in cancer research? I wonder myself at times, but always attribute my career path to a single moment in time. To explain it all I would have to get technical, so I’m going to try to keep it simple:

I was using a dye to study a property of biological membranes and when I presented the work to Dr. Ben de Kruijff (a close collaborator with Dr. Pieter...

Celebrating a Milestone and Introducing June Guest Blogger Dr. Marcel Bally

Hi everyone,

Before I introduce our guest blogger for June, some exciting news: this month, the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre (CRC) celebrates its 10th anniversary, a remarkable milestone in the history of cancer research and enhancements to care in B.C.

Over the past decade, the CRC has truly become a powerhouse fixture in cancer research on a global scale. Within its walls,...

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