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Introducing January's Guest Blogger

It is my pleasure to introduce January’s guest blogger Dr. Marco Marra, head of the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) . If you've been following along the past few months, you already know that the GSC is central to the research taking place at the BC Cancer Agency. Most Agency research groups collaborate with Marco, and the GSC has been a part of nearly every major research breakthrough announced at the BC Cancer Agency in the last two years. I'm sure that Marco’s posts will provide you with interesting information on how unique his team is. Warm regards, Doug

Why do clinical trials require/deserve funding?

When thinking about what I wanted to write in today’s post, I knew I first wanted to say thank you to George and Margaret Braun and their family for giving generously to the BC Cancer Foundation . Their gift provided substantial funding for the Clinical Trials Unit in Abbotsford that now bears their name. Without the Brauns, there would not be clinical trials in Abbotsford. Period. Along those lines, I should also thank the 20 riders of the Wheel Warriors’ team who raised $50,000 for clinical trials in Abbotsford last year in the Ride to Conquer Cancer . Funding for clinical trials is very...

B.C.’s cancer survival rates stand out

I’m pleased to be today’s special guest blogger and to share with you our excitement about a study that highlights the quality of cancer care in British Columbia and the role that research plays in it. The study, published today in the prestigious international journal The Lancet , compares outcomes for breast, ovarian, lung, and colorectal cancer among Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom over the period from 1995–2007. These six nations were chosen because of their similar wealth and systems of universal health care. Here is a summary of some of the results: -...

About Clinical Trials

I wanted to start by speaking a bit about the Clinical Trials Unit at the Abbotsford Centre. “Clinical trials” is a term that encompasses a lot of different research questions and goals. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a definition ( here it is), but for ease, I think of clinical trials as being any research experiment being conducted on human patients. In our context, these include specific questions such as, “Is chemotherapy X better than chemotherapy Y ?” and peripheral questions such as, “Does herb X reduce nausea better than drug Y ?” or, “Is a PET/CT scan helpful prior to...

Meet Dr. Devin Schellenberg

As Doug explained, I am a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley and Abbotsford Centres. A radiation oncologist treats cancer mostly by using high energy, extremely focused X-ray beams, though internal radiation (in the form of prostate brachytherapy seeds or gynecologic implants) may also be used. Physicians choose to use radiation, chemotherapy or surgery (or a combination) depending on the type of cancer, its stage (that is, how far the disease has spread) and the wellness of the patient. Radiation is used as treatment for almost all types of cancer though not every...

Introducing December's guest blogger

December always seems to be such a busy month. Shopping, parties and other festive activities can make for a hectic season. I pause when I remember that thousands of British Columbians and their loved ones will spend this season in the middle of a cancer journey. So, while I know that some of you might not be checking in as often over the next few weeks, we’re still going to continue blogging and informing you of the amazing work taking place throughout the province every day at the BC Cancer Agency. With that, it gives me great pleasure to turn the blog over this month to Dr. Devin...

How projects like ANGELYC make a difference

As you know from my previous post, our research team at the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for Lymphoid Cancer has undertaken the ANGELYC project (Analysis of Genomes to Eliminate Lymphoid Cancer). I thought you might be interested in an example of why this is important. It involves an odd coincidence in my practice. A few years ago, I saw both a husband and wife as patients within about six months of each other. What was odd was that both of them had developed the same type of follicular lymphoma. Even more odd, in each case the lymphoma first showed up as a lump under their arm. We know that...

ANGELYC Project

I’d like to tell you a bit about an exciting research project being undertaken right now at the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer . It’s called the ANGELYC Project, which stands for Analysis of Genomes to Eliminate Lymphoid Cancers. This is a comprehensive research study my Co-Director Dr. Randy Gascoyne and I are launching. The goal of the ANGELYC Project is to sequence and analyze the genomes of all lymphoid cancers. We hope to uncover new treatment targets and develop more effective treatments that will ultimately give lymphoid cancer patients a better chance at long-term survival. This project...

Introduction to Lymphoid cancers

Hello readers! My name is Dr. Joseph Connors, and I’m the clinical director at the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for Lymphoid Cancer. I’ve worked at the BC Cancer Agency for nearly 30 years as a medical oncologist. I’d like to start by explaining a bit about lymphoid cancers and why I’ve chosen to dedicate my work to this area. Lymphoid cancers are cancers that start in the lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell. Lymphoid cancers can affect anyone, and incidence of these cancers is growing faster than any other kind in North America. Lymphoid cancers are now the fourth most common cancer in...

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