Dr. Peter Watson
Senior Scientist, Deeley Research Centre; Director, Tumour Tissue Repository, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre

Blog Posts by Dr. Peter Watson

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 blog posts

A Look Inside the Tumour Tissue Repository and Final Thoughts

The BC Cancer Agency’s Tumour Tissue Repository (TTR) is another example of a biobank that owes much of its success to generous donations to the BC Cancer Foundation. The TTR provides support for PREDICT to operate and collect blood samples and focuses on collecting cancer tissue specimens after surgical and medical procedures. The TTR has created a standardized collection of over 4,500 tissue specimens, which has supported leading research groups in the BC Cancer Agency to make groundbreaking discoveries that have been recognized as amongst the most exciting in this field in the world. But...

Biobanks: Critical to Progress in Cancer Research

This week I would like to talk about biobanks and tell you a little more about how they work. Biobanks operate by coordinating a process to approach patients to ask them to give their consent to access their tissues and health information. Tissues are removed in the course of medical procedures to diagnose and treat cancer and a portion of these tissues are often left over after completion of diagnosis by a pathologist. With permission from each patient, these tissues can be collected by the biobank, processed, stored, linked to health information obtained from the patient’s record, and made...

Discovering a Link Between Breast Cancer Research and Immunotherapy

As I described earlier this week, my colleagues and I had recently discovered a link between resistance to hormone therapy in breast cancer patients and the immune system, and we turned to our colleagues at the Deeley Research Centre to help us advance this important work. We all have an immune system in our bodies that is designed to detect and eliminate foreign agents (like bacteria) and abnormal cells (like cancer). However, when the immune system does not succeed, infections can take hold and cancer can develop. We think that cancer develops only when the immune system has been evaded or...

Studying the Evolution of Breast Cancer

This week I would like to talk about my role as a researcher. My research program is focused on trying to understand two of the most critical steps in the evolution of breast cancer: First, the transition from a disease where cancer cells are confined to the breast ducts (known as “in-situ” cancer) into a disease where the cancer cells have acquired the ability to invade into the surrounding breast tissue and eventually gain access to lymphatics, blood vessels and spread to other organs. If we could prevent this transition we could eliminate the risk of invasive breast cancers developing in...

An Introduction to Pathology and Biobanking

In my previous post I described how I came to be a pathologist, scientist, and a biobanker. My colleagues have written fascinating posts about their roles on this blog. Many are scientists, some are pathologists and a few are biobankers too, but I don't think they explained the last two roles. So I will fill in that gap today: Cancer patients meet many people at the BC Cancer Agency who have different roles in providing them care, advice, support. Amongst these people are the ‘front line’ physicians, such as medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. But there are also other types of...

A Mix of Influences: Building a Career in Cancer Research and Care

Hello, I’m Dr. Peter Watson, a pathologist, scientist, and biobanker based at the BC Cancer Agency in Victoria. What influenced me to pursue all these three ‘professions’? Well, the answer is a mix of influences, both genetic and environmental: I come from a family with strong ‘traveling’, ‘medical’ and ‘natural sciences’ genes reinforced over several generations. The ‘Watson’ clan is of course from the Scottish lowlands, but by the second half of the 1800s my forbears were sailing clipper ships across the globe. By the 1900s they were designing dreadnaughts, navigating submarines, and...