Philanthropy is essential as we continue our endeavours to discover innovative and more effective ways to combat cancer. Much of this is done in increments, rather than in big breakthroughs. With each project that we initiate, we are helping to solve part of a puzzle. And with each puzzle resolved, we add another building block to our understanding of this disease and to our ability to combat it more effectively.

Many of the advances cancer patients are benefiting from today have been achieved from, and are based on results of, multi-center and multinational clinical trials, as well as small initial pilot studies. BC Cancer centres, including the Vancouver Island Centre, have and are involved in these types of trials. There is, however, more we can do to build upon our capacity to contribute to these efforts. This we can do by consolidating our clinical trials unit infrastructure, and by securing dedicated and skilled staff that are active in research and are eager to serve their patients, current and future, in this capacity. This is where I believe philanthropy, including the BC Cancer Foundation’s annual Jingle Mingle event in Victoria, can play a vital role here at this centre. Generous funds will enable us to consolidate our infrastructure and to expand our capacity. More than ever we need to move the needle with regard to cancer research and care.

Our Trev & Joyce Deeley Research Centre, at which basic science research is conducted, is but one of the rich legacies of giving at the Vancouver Island Centre; it was built entirely through donations to the BC Cancer Foundation, as was the Conconi Family Immunotherapy Laboratory where our world-leading research in immunotherapy takes place.

Strengthening our clinical trials infrastructure at this centre, combined with the world-class work being done at the Deeley centre, will ultimately enhance our ability to conduct ‘translational’ research; a type of research that translates promising new treatment to clinical care. Translational research can accelerate our strides towards incorporating new advances in diagnosis and treatment, as they become available, in the management of patients. Thanks to our impassioned donors who are committed to changing the outcome for those facing this disease, we are forging ahead with engaging and conducting translational research at BC Cancer, and are hoping to bring this to Victoria for the benefit of cancer patients on the Island.

There is so much happening in cancer research; every day there is something new and the rate of discoveries is accelerating faster than ever. With that, I have every reason to be optimistic and hopeful for the future, both in terms of achieving better results for patients, and for making treatment much more tolerable and effective.

Thank you for keeping up with my blogs this month and for your support to the BC Cancer Foundation.

Sam Kader

Radiation oncologist and regional medical director, BC Cancer Vancouver Island Centre