Integrative Oncology Department Head

To take an idea from discovery into the clinic, it takes a large team of researchers and scientists from many disciplines and areas of specialization, clinicians, surgeons, businessmen and advisors. It is truly gratifying to see your work used in clinical practice, but it takes real commitment and belief in a project to sustain the level of effort needed to make it – anywhere between 5 – 10 years of research are required.

A good example of this is the team I am fortunate to be part of. We are using light as an early cancer detection mechanism to screen oral tissue.  The process began with discovering the technology to detect cancers early, to developing a portable device that is useable in the clinic. Currently this device, called the VELscope, is in a Canadian clinical study to potentially change clinical practice across Canada and beyond.

While our team has been successful at acquiring some funding, not all the steps in the process are easily funded .  Support from the BC Cancer Foundation has helped fill in the difficult steps in this research process.

An excellent example of our team spirit is also harnessed in our Ride to Conquer Cancer participation this month – we are the Better Outcomes team. We have been training each week to prepare for this event, but I am personally fighting the aging process and finding the time to train outside work can be a challenge. But I’m looking forward to it! Visit my team page [here] if you’d like to support our ride.

Despite project challenges, research or training for the Ride, our determined team getting to the finish line… In closing, I’d like to share one of my favourite team effort quotes, “A small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Meade

Calum