Dr. Julian Lum
Scientist, Deeley Research Centre, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre

Blog Posts by Dr. Julian Lum

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 blog posts

Dr. Julian Lum: Giving Immune Cells an Advantage

Hello, I’m Dr. Julian Lum and I’m delighted to return as a BC Cancer Foundation blogger. I’ve been a scientist at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) since 2008 and am also an assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Victoria. I began my career in the field of translational HIV/AIDS immunology research, and subsequently moved to doing basic cancer research. My training and expertise in these areas led me to realize the important connection between cancer and immunology and resulted in two main areas of focus for my lab: a new field, which we...

Radiation, Cancer, and the Immune System

Wow, January went by quickly—it is hard to believe this is my final blog post for the BC Cancer Foundation. I’d like to conclude by talking about my role as a Co-Leader of the Radiation and Cancer Immunotherapy Team (RCIT) at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre (VIC) and the research we are conducting here. Years ago, a team of oncologists and researchers at the BC Cancer Agency on Vancouver Island discovered that treating one tumour with radiation caused the shrinkage of a second tumour that had never received radiation. This was quite surprising, and it turns out that radiation can...

Cancer’s Sweet Tooth

Admit it. It’s true isn’t it? You love the dessert buffet line just as much as I do, or more maybe!? Well, you’re not the only one… It turns out cancer cells love sugar too. In fact, in order to grow and divide, cancer cells become addicted to glucose, a type of sugar derived from the foods we eat. As cancer cells divide and form large tumours, they eventually use up all of the available glucose in their environment. In order for cancer cells to survive, they must overcome this hurdle by turning on a process called autophagy (auto-phay-gee), often compared to “self-eating.” This is a way for...

History is always right

When I returned to Canada to find a suitable place to setup my laboratory, I was immediately drawn to the BC Cancer Agency Deeley Research Centre (DRC) because of the DRC’s vision and it’s Director, Dr. Brad Nelson . The sole mandate of the DRC was to focus research efforts on understanding how the immune system recognizes and destroys cancer, but more importantly, to be the first place in British Columbia to offer immunotherapy as a form of cancer treatment. I saw this was a bold plan, but I felt it was strongly supported throughout the entire BC Cancer Agency. This internal support...

Cancer immunology and returning to Canada

My research focus at the University of Pennsylvania eventually developed into cancer immunology research, and you may wonder how this happened. Well that is a great question, one I often begin to answer by explaining how there are very few human diseases that we have truly eradicated or cured. History tells us that our best successes have come from eradication of infectious diseases like smallpox, polio, measles and a few others by activating the immune system through the implementation of vaccines. To me, it was quite simple that cancer could be defeated by stimulating the immune system, and...

The Year of the Dragon: Fearless, passionate and devoted to a great cause

Welcome and Happy New Year everyone! My name is Julian Lum, and I am a scientist and Co-Leader of the Radiation and Cancer Immunotherapy Team at the BC Cancer Agency Deeley Research Centre in the Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre. I have the great honour of being the first guest blogger of 2012. I am dually honoured by this because 2012 is the year of the dragon in the Chinese Horoscope, and I was born in the year of the Dragon. I was born, raised and went to school in Ottawa. My initial training was in the area of immunology and understanding how HIV/AIDS causes the destruction of the immune...