Research Associate, Deeley Research Centre, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre

Hello, I’m Dr. Julie Nielsen and I am happy to share an inside look at my work in immunotherapy on the BC Cancer Foundation blog.

I started working at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) in October 2007. I had previously conducted research in cancer and medical genetics and joined the DRC because I wanted to help develop innovative strategies for treating cancer. The power and specificity of the immune system makes immunotherapy a very promising approach.

The conversations I have with patients motivate me in my daily work – I am currently developing T cell-based therapies for cancer, particularly for lymphoma and myeloma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in Canada, and many patients experience no evidence of disease progression for several years. It is thought that this may be a result of the patient’s immune system mounting an active response.

With this idea in mind, I am using genomic approaches to identify targets for T cell-based therapies. My ultimate goal is to initiate clinical trials for patients with lymphoma and myeloma, as part of our new Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Program. My hope is that these trials will lead to more effective immune-based treatment strategies for cancer patients in the future.

Thanks for reading,
Julie