Key to doing cancer research is funding (i.e. money!). As researchers, we spend a lot of time trying to get funding from various sources, particularly granting agencies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – by subjecting our ideas to repeated scrutiny, it helps us to refine our research plans and make sure that the best projects go forward. The problem is that there are lots of good ideas and not enough funding sources. Also, sometimes we need to explore ideas in a preliminary way to know if there is real promise in a good idea or not, but it can be difficult to get funding for such projects that may be “high risk” (for failure) but are “high return” (if positive).

These are areas where the BC Cancer Foundation (in a large part through donations made by people like you reading this blog now) has really helped my research endeavors. For example, this year I was awarded one of the first BC Cancer Foundation Clinician Researcher awards which provides five-year support for me to expand and accelerate my research activities, while still enabling me to do all the other things I do, particularly providing state-of-the-art care for patients.

Another example is the circulating cancer DNA work I spoke about in my last post – that was a preliminary study paid for by funds from BC Cancer Foundation donors. The data from that study led to a successful $200,000 Movember Discovery grant from Prostate Cancer Canada and progress with three clinical trial ideas. So the $50,000 from BC Cancer Foundation donors for our preliminary work will be leveraged into approximately $3,000,000 in funding to investigate new treatments for prostate cancer and develop precision medicine strategies.

Speaking of $50,000, that was about the amount of money my team raised for the Ride to Conquer Cancer this past weekend. I’ve been doing the Ride every year that it’s been running (six years now!). My team includes two of my best friends who have also ridden every year with me, and two cancer survivors that I’ve cared for – truly inspiring to have them on the team. As always, it was a great experience for me. It’s fantastic to see everyone out there knowing how much they have done to raise money for cancer research, listening to their stories and who they are riding for, and knowing that there’s huge public support for what we do. I really look forward to next year’s Ride – especially since it’s moving to August because I’m tired of biking in the cold and rain! But as my friend says, that’s nothing compared to chemotherapy…

Thanks for reading,

Here’s a photo of my teammate Wayne and I, loading up our bikes for last year’s Ride – (as you can see, it was sunnier than this past weekend!)

Medical Oncologist, Senior Scientist, Medical Director - Clinical Trials Unit, BC Cancer Agency