BREAKTHROUGH

FALL 2019

Features

Dr. Kim Chi, vice president and chief medical officer, BC Cancer; Sarah Roth, president & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation; Hon. John Horgan, premier of British Columbia

USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF PHILANTHROPY AND LEADERSHIP

I’m delighted to share that 2018 was a record-setting year for the Foundation with $63.7 million raised to support research and care at BC Cancer, thanks to our passionate community of donors!

Sarah Roth, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation

I’m delighted to share that 2018 was a record-setting year for the Foundation with $63.7 million raised to support research and care at BC Cancer, thanks to our passionate community of donors! 

This fall marks a time of enormous momentum for BC Cancer. At our second annual RED FM Radiothon in June, I was moved by the outpouring of generosity to support a new pharmacy at BC Cancer – Surrey. Families arrived at the station to drop off cheques and cash, including children bringing in their piggy banks to donate their allowances. It’s an example of a community coming to the table when asked to support a cause crucial to patients and families close to their hearts.  

In July, we were thrilled to welcome Dr. Kim Chi as BC Cancer’s new Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Chi shares a vision with the Foundation of growing philanthropic support for cancer research and care to ensure BC Cancer delivers the best care in the world, with the best outcomes. I am confident we will accomplish great things together, sparking many research breakthroughs and saving more lives. 

We also wrapped our PET/CT campaign in Victoria, recognizing the Heys family’s $2 million gift and unveiling a brand new, state-of-the-art PET/CT machine at BC Cancer – Victoria with Premier John Horgan and Minister of Health Adrian Dix. The success of this campaign exemplifies how big things happen when government and philanthropy partner together to rally for a cause that will impact thousands. 

I’m continuously moved by the generousity of our family of donors and I’m excited for the momentum to continue as we head into event season with our annual Hope Couture fashion show and luncheon, Inspiration Gala and Jingle Mingle.

Thank you for your ongoing support to help change outcomes for patients and families in our communities.

Sarah Roth
President & CEO 
BC Cancer Foundation

Warm Mussel and Maple Chowder with Caramelized Fennel

A DELICIOUS ADDITION TO A FALL DAY

Cozy up this fall with a Warm Mussel and Maple Chowder with Caramelized Fennel, courtesy of The Vancouver Club’s chef extraordinaire, Ned Bell. Recipe serves 4

Mussels
3 lb live mussels
3 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup white wine or craft beer (not too hoppy)

Chowder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large bulb fennel, diced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup white wine or craft beer (not too hoppy)
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
2 tbsp pure maple syrup, to drizzle
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Mussels
Rinse the mussels under cold water, and discard any that are open and won’t close when tapped or that have broken shells. Scrub off any debris and pull off the beard.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the wine (or beer) and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the shells just open up. (Do not overcook. Mussels cook very quickly. You know they’re ready when the shells are open.) Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a baking sheet to cool. Discard any that are unopened.

Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve. Remove the mussels from their shells and place in a bowl.

Chowder
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return the saucepan to medium heat and melt the butter. Add the onions and celery, and sauté for 7 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and salt and pepper, and sauté for another minute until fragrant. Pour in the wine (or beer), stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Add the cream, milk, and reserved mussel cooking liquid, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and corn and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add the mussels and cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.

Ladle the chowder into 4 serving bowls, drizzle each with olive oil and maple syrup, and garnish with a sprinkle of chives.

Excerpted from Lure by Ned Bell and Valerie Howes. Photograph by Kevin Clark. Copyright 2017 by Chefs for Oceans, recipes copyright by Ned Bell. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. 

Chef Ned Bell and his wife Kate, patient at BC Cancer

FINDING COMFORT DURING A CHALLENGING TIME

There were people who were scared, but also so many people like me who found comfort with the kind and caring nurses, doctors and volunteers there.

Kate Colley, patient at BC Cancer

Ned and his wife, Kate, know firsthand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on a family. 

In August 2018, after Kate felt a large lump in her right breast, a mammogram and ultrasound soon confirmed their worst fear: breast cancer. 

“It was clear from the look in everyone’s eyes that something was wrong,” says Kate. “I had a lump basically the dimensions of a hockey puck in the centre of my breast.”

The diagnosis was Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Kate began treatment a month later and within nine months she had undergone eight rounds of chemo, 25 rounds of radiation and a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.

With a jam-packed schedule filled by her marketing communications business, three sons, a husband and lots of friends, Kate found her new routine tricky to manage.  

“I barely had time to breathe,” she says. “However, all of the activity largely kept my mind off the cancer.”

After feeling “nervous like a high school freshman” stepping into BC Cancer – Vancouver for the first time, Kate soon became accustomed to the new environment.

“There were people who were scared, but also so many people like me who found comfort with the kind and caring staff, nurses, doctors and volunteers there,” she says.  

She learned what to expect in the months ahead, including the ins and outs of chemotherapy and the importance of indulging in a particularly tasty treat.

“One of the nurses really stressed the importance of chocolate cake, as in: eat as much chocolate cake as you need to get through the bumps,” says Kate. “This advice continues to serve me – and maybe everyone – in dealing with life’s challenges.”

Victoria resident Roy Sperano

VICTORIA MAN DONATES HIS ESTATE TO CHANGE OUTCOMES

He was a generous and loving man. We had many happy times.

Evonne Webb, neighbour and friend to Roy and Sandra.

Victoria resident Roy Sperano faced cancer not once, but twice. After losing his wife Sandra to cancer in 2017, Roy was diagnosed himself. 

Motivated by his experience with the disease and inspired by the excellent research and care at BC Cancer – Victoria, Roy decided to generously donate his full estate to the BC Cancer Foundation. 

During his life, Roy attended several BC Cancer events and made it clear that his apartment, car and full estate were to go to the Foundation to support others facing cancer in the community.  

While Sandra was ill, Roy diligently cared for her. “He looked after Sandra amazingly well – it was very touching to see. He took her to have her hair done every Friday morning,” says Evonne Webb, neighbour and friend to Roy and Sandra. 

Within a year of Sandra’s passing, Roy was diagnosed with lung cancer. After treatment and surgery, his condition improved, but the cancer eventually spread to his brain. He passed away at age 83 in November 2018. 

A trained engineer, Roy worked in several locations across the country. He and Sandra retired in James Bay in the 1990s and were very involved in the church and community. As animal lovers, one of their favourite pastimes as a couple was feeding the ducks at Beacon Hill Park.

“He had a nice sense of humour, was very pleasant and enjoyed talking to folks in the community,” says Bev Unger, a neighbour to Roy and Sandra for more than 10 years.  

Roy’s legacy gift will impact more than 27,000 British Columbians diagnosed with cancer in our province this year. 

You can support revolutionary advancements in care at BC Cancer with a gift in your estate. To learn more, please contact Kelly Sodkta, 604.877.6165 or kelly.sodtka@bccancer.bc.ca.

Dr. Connie Eaves

MEET DR. CONNIE EAVES

I can hardly wait to come to work every day and interact with a group of world-class scientists, clinicians, trainees and support staff who enables us to tackle the major challenges to managing cancers more effectively.

Dr. Connie Eaves

Dr. Connie Eaves is a distinguished scientist and co-founder of the Terry Fox Laboratory and the Leukemia & Myeloma Program (LaMP) of BC. LaMP seeks to promote discoveries and their translation into more effective diagnostic and treatments for leukemia and myeloma. LaMP funds are allocated to members of a team of clinicians and scientists dedicated to achieving this goal through the augmented support of outstanding personnel, core technologies, improved data management and new approaches

BREAKTHROUGH: Can you describe your role? 

DR. EAVES: I am a basic scientist with a particular interest in understanding the complex biological changes that normal human cells undergo to become malignant. I have made seminal advancements in both leukemia and breast cancer research, largely by seeking out other scientists with complementary expertise to enable a team approach to address these complex problems. It has also meant playing an exciting mentoring role to hundreds of trainees at all levels and from all around the world.

BREAKTHROUGH: How did you come into this line of work?

DR.EAVES: I was recruited to BC Cancer in 1973 as its second scientist with the responsibility of developing the cell biology program for the TRIUMF radiotherapy program that was just starting at that time. I was experienced in radiobiology because that was the foundation of blood stem cell biology. It was also part of a then new treatment for leukemia patients that was immediately followed by a bone marrow transplant.

BREAKTHROUGH: What exciting research updates can you share with us?

DR. EAVES: I am currently leading two projects that seek to identify how certain types of human cancer get started. We are very excited to be the first in the world to show that a single genetic alteration can rapidly generate both an acute leukemia and breast cancers that can be grown in transplanted mice. We can now use these models to find out the sequence of molecular changes that drive the transformation process that may help develop new early detection and prevention strategies as well as more predictive systems for testing better treatments.

BREAKTHROUGH:  How do BC Cancer Foundation donors support your work?

DR. EAVES: Donors play a critical role in helping to provide the resources to obtain key new equipment and start-up funds while their interest encourages us to make difficult discoveries. 

Dr. Eaves’ Favourite Things:

  • Favourite book? For Whom the Bell Tolls by Earnest Hemingway
  • Favourite movie? Out of Africa
  • Favourite dish? Moosetracks ice cream
  • Favourite activity outside of work? Gardening and listening to music
Barry Smee

NEW TOOL TO ACCELERATE OVARIAN CANCER RESEARCH

Our initial goal is to enable BC Cancer to acquire a cutting-edge piece of equipment called a mass spectrometer. We believe this will have a huge impact for women facing ovarian cancer.

Barry Smee

Barry Smee was running a successful mineral exploration consulting business and travelling the world when his wife Sue was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

“We’d planned holidays in Africa and the Mediterranean, and then everything came to a stop,” says Barry. “The diagnosis of ovarian cancer was like a huge sledgehammer. We were told Sue had between two to three years, if we were very lucky. It was a terrible shock.” 

During the last two years of Sue’s life, she became a grandmother and was able to spend quality time with her new baby grandson. “That was just the best blessing,” says Barry. “At the end, the last six months, she was just hanging on.” 

After Sue’s passing, Barry was introduced to BC Cancer’s OVCARE (Ovarian Cancer Research) team. “I could immediately see that cancer research is like mining exploration: it requires investment to make progress.”

Together with Sandy McVey and partners in B.C.’s mining industry, Barry decided to take action to improve the outcome for other women facing ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Mining Group was formed to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research at BC Cancer.

“Our initial goal is to enable BC Cancer to acquire a cutting-edge piece of equipment called a mass spectrometer,” says Barry. “We believe this will have a huge impact for women facing ovarian cancer.” 

Ovarian Cancer: A Devastating Disease

Ovarian cancer affects a small number of women each year but has a devastating impact – it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in Canadian women. 

The symptoms are often subtle or non-specific. Because there are no screening tests for ovarian cancer, the disease often reaches an advanced stage before it is diagnosed. 

“Despite advances in treatment, half of all women with ovarian cancer, women like Sue, still die within five years of diagnosis,” says Dr. David Huntsman, director of OVCARE. “Our goal is to reduce death and suffering from all gynecologic cancers by 50% in the next 15 years.”

Mass Spectrometry: Better Tools, Better Outcomes

In order for more women to survive ovarian cancer, the OVCARE team needs the best tools to understand the disease and how to treat it.  

“Mass spectrometry (MS) is a cutting-edge tool for uncovering molecule-level clues that lead to cancer. By taking detailed measurements of protein molecules in the human body, MS provides researchers with a vibrant picture of how cancer genes take control of cellular activities,” says Dr. Gregg Morin, head of the proteomics platform at BC Cancer. 

Over the past decade, BC Cancer scientists have gained a venerable reputation for identifying genetic mutations in cancer cells. They’re now focused on understanding the underlying role of proteins made from mutated genes in causing cancer cells to form and multiply; this field of study is known as proteomics. 

“Mass spectrometry reveals the complex roles of the thousands of proteins,” says Dr. Morin. “It can identify proteins which differentiate tumours and distinguish one type of cancer from another. This helps not only in diagnosis but in identifying targets for cancer drugs and determining if existing drugs can effectively treat these targets.” 

BC Cancer has emerged as a national and international leader in proteomics since a state-of-the-art mass spectrometer was acquired in 2014. The machine is in very high demand and shared by research teams across BC Cancer, meaning some teams are waiting up to two years to access the MS for critical projects. To date the MS has played an integral role in research projects focused on pancreatic, bladder, pediatric, ovarian, blood and breast cancers.

A new MS at BC Cancer will be devoted to patient tumour sample analysis to enable the rapid acceleration of ovarian cancer research projects. The new instrument will be devoted to identifying the cellular changes responsible for the development of cancer.

“Essentially, the mass spectrometer will enable our team to gain a better understanding of the proteins that enable ovarian cancer to thrive and develop customized treatments to block those proteins,” says Dr. Huntsman. 

With the new MS in place, three times more research projects will launch, bringing better treatments and a better quality of life to women in our province and beyond.

“I believe OVCARE’s research will help save the lives of our loved ones: our wives, our daughters, our granddaughters. Their discoveries will affect the world and will make women’s lives better,” says Barry Smee. 

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT

Barry and his fellow mining industry leaders will be matching donations for the mass spectrometer dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million until October 31st. Visit bccancerfoundation.com/giving to learn more.

Dr. Jonathan Loree, medical oncologist, BC Cancer

GENOMICS: CHANGING THE OUTCOME FOR BRITISH COLUMBIANS WITH CANCER

Young people are more likely to have certain genetic mutations and subtypes of colorectal cancer. This knowledge will help us personalize treatment strategies for them, leading to better outcomes.

Dr. Jonathan Loree, medical oncologist, BC Cancer

“I think liquid biopsies have huge potential to improve how we treat patients,” says Dr. Jonathan Loree, medical oncologist at BC Cancer. 

Biopsies are a standard tool for diagnosing cancer and detecting recurrence. During a biopsy, a doctor removes a small amount of tissue to examine, which provides vital information about the disease. However, biopsies can be invasive and cause discomfort for patients. 

It is now proven that cancers shed small fragments of DNA which are detectible in a person’s blood – this is known as circulating tumour DNA or “ctDNA”. 

“The advancement of genetic sequencing technology has made it possible to extract this tumour DNA and study it to determine the mutation profile of a person’s cancer,” says Dr. Loree. “Studies show that ctDNA holds great promise as an early warning signal for people with a predisposition to cancer, as a diagnostic tool and as a method for tracking a patient’s response to therapy.”

Dr. Loree and his colleagues recently launched a three-year program called LOGIC (Liquid Biopsies of Gastrointestinal Cancers) which encompasses three integrated projects to demonstrate that ctDNA can improve gastrointestinal (GI) cancer outcomes by detecting recurrence. A critical part of this work is an international collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where Dr. Loree worked before joining BC Cancer. 

GI cancers affect the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, colon, rectum and anus. Taken together, they constitute nearly 20% of all new cancer cases affecting both men and women.  

“Our goal is to make ctDNA testing for cancer recurrence the standard of care for people with GI cancers in our province,” says Dr. Loree. 

The LOGIC Program Plan:

• LOGIC Project 1 will use ctDNA to detect recurrence in patients whose cancer is associated with infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV). This includes cervical, anal and head and neck cancers. 

• LOGIC Project 2 will aim to detect recurrence in gastric cancer that has spread beyond the stomach to improve treatment plans if the disease is aggressive; and

• LOGIC Project 3 will use ctDNA to identify signs of residual cancer after surgery in patients with rectal cancer. This will help to determine those patients who need additional chemotherapy and those who don’t. 

Dr. Loree also recently published a paper in CANCER that shows younger patients with colorectal cancer are unique from older patients. “Young people are more likely to have certain genetic mutations and subtypes of colorectal cancer,” he says. “This knowledge will help us personalize treatment strategies for them, leading to better outcomes.”

Genomics is the Key: All Programs, All Platforms

All cells have genomes (DNA genetic codes) that govern their existence. Cancer occurs when the genomes of cells change, leading to uncontrolled cell growth and replication. 

To break down cancer, BC Cancer is using genomics to create treatments that are uniquely tailored for patients. 

BC Cancer is one of only a handful of cancer treatment centres in the world that has a state-of-the-art genome analysis facility embedded within it: BC Cancer’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC). 

The GSC is an international leader in DNA and RNA sequencing, proteomics and bioinformatics. As BC Cancer’s most crucial partner, the GSC is helping to change the outcome for people in B.C. and beyond by harnessing the power of genome science across virtually all flagship research projects: 

Laurie Rix, philanthropist

MEN CAN GET BREAST CANCER, TOO

Scientists at BC Cancer are working to identify mutations and risks earlier, with the hopes of preventing cancers like breast, for both women and men. Neil would want all men to know that they are at risk for this disease, too.

Laurie Rix, philanthropist

Laurie Rix lost her husband Neil Macrae in 2017 to breast cancer—a disease largely associated with women.

In 2015, well-known Vancouver sportscaster Neil Macrae noticed a lump inside his breast that was the size of a golf ball. After showing his wife, Laurie Rix, she suggested getting it looked at by a doctor. The diagnosis shocked them both. Male breast cancer: a rare form that will affect more than 200 men in Canada this year.

“When he was diagnosed, it was Stage III, so he had to have a mastectomy followed by radiation,” says Laurie.

His oncologist at BC Cancer, Dr. Karen Gelmon, found through genetic analysis that Neil had the BRCA2 mutation. A gene widely known today as ‘the breast cancer gene,’ it also puts men at higher risk for getting multiple, other cancers like prostate, which Neil later developed.

Through this analysis, Neil’s oncologist was able to tailor a treatment plan based on his genetic mutation.

Neil would go on to face a third type of cancer before passing away in 2017 at age 65.

“Scientists at BC Cancer are working to identify mutations and risks earlier, with the hopes of preventing cancers like breast, for both women and men,” says Laurie. “Neil would want all men to know that they are at risk for this disease, too.”

THE RIX FAMILY LEGACY

The Rix family has a long history with BC Cancer and its world-renowned Genome Sciences Centre (GSC). In addition to losing her husband, Laurie also lost her father, Dr. Donald Rix to tongue cancer in 2009.

Dr. Rix was the first-ever Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program participant—‘patient X’— who helped fund the project, and would become the first person in the world to have gene sequencing completed to analyze and inform the treatment of cancer.

His belief in the science of genetic sequencing and his advocacy for it to play a role in treatment initiated a tidal shift in the way cancer is being treated today.

His willingness to take part in the first study led to the enrollment of more than 1,068 patients in POG to date, and the publishing of 25 research papers.

The Rix Family Foundation generously supported POG at the Foundation’s 2014 Inspiration Gala with a gift of $1.5 million, and in 2017 Laurie donated $500,000 to establish the Neil Macrae Hereditary Cancer Research Fund.

October is breast cancer awareness month. You can help change outcomes for women and men facing breast cancer in British Columbia. To learn more please contact Alyson Killam at akillam@bccancer.bc.ca or 604.877.6160


BC CANCER’S GENOME SCIENCES CENTRE: A GLOBAL PIONEER 

For the past 20 years, the GSC team has been decoding the DNA structure of individual cancers to revolutionize treatment patient by patient. It was the first program in the world to use genomic data from a patient’s cancer to match them to a treatment. 

With more information about the root cause of a person’s cancer, doctors have a much greater chance of finding an effective treatment.

This year’s Inspiration Gala will be held on Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and is raising funds toward genomics: the future of cancer care. To learn more, please visit: www.bccancerfoundation.com/inspirationgala


 

QUARTERLY HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Daniel Renouf, medical oncologist, BC Cancer

RAPID ACCESS TO CARE WILL SAVE LIVES

My prognosis improved because I had swift access to the appropriate treatment.

David Kennedy, pancreatic cancer patient

“Let’s get this taken care of as soon as possible.” That was David Kennedy’s initial thought when he learned he had pancreatic cancer, after a CT scan revealed a tumour growing on his pancreas.

After surgery to eradicate the tumour, David underwent chemotherapy at BC Cancer. Since the completion of his treatment, CT scans and blood work have shown that his cancer is in remission.

For people like David facing pancreatic cancer, time is precious. Although it is the tenth most common cancer in Canada, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death after lung, breast in women, colorectal, and prostate in men.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect at an early stage and is often resistant to treatment. It’s projected that for the over 800 people in British Columbia who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, only 10 per cent (or 80 people) will live five years.

While the experts at BC Cancer have made significant progress in breaking down pancreatic cancer in the labs and clinics, for some patients this isn’t happening fast enough. 

Patients often need to be seen by several specialists and there can be significant delays in arranging these appointments and subsequent tests. During this time, the cancer can progress.

To help reduce the time elapsed between diagnosis and the start of treatment, Dr. Daniel Renouf, BC Cancer medical oncologist and clinician-scientist, has a vision to create a rapid access clinic at BC Cancer, where:

  • specialist consults are consolidated on a single day;
  • testing is expedited;
  • cutting-edge genetic profiling is performed at the time of diagnosis, leading to tailored therapies for each individual patient; and
  • the clinical research team can discuss potential experimental treatment options.

The rapid access clinic will also significantly minimize stress for patients and families, according to Dr. Renouf.

“By relieving some of their greatest anxieties, we can help patients cope better,” he says. “And by managing their care more efficiently, we can help give them their best chance for survival.”

The significance of creating a rapid access clinic for pancreatic cancer care is not lost on David.

“My experience at BC Cancer was nothing short of superb,” he says. “My prognosis improved because I had swift access to the appropriate treatment.”

Generous support from BC Cancer Foundation donors can help make the future of pancreatic cancer care a reality and bring new hope to families across B.C. so they can experience an outcome much like David’s.

“I owe my life to all the doctors and staff that cared for me,” says David. “I am one lucky man.” 

You can help support the creation of a rapid access clinic at BC Cancer today – contact Robyn Jones-Murrell at 604.707.5906 or Robyn.JonesMurrell@bccancer.bc.ca

Sam Hackett, clinical trials nurse coordinator, BC Cancer — Victoria

SAVING LIVES WITH INNOVATIVE THERAPIES

Clinical trials expand opportunities for people to participate in research and offer new options during an often difficult time. The results lead directly to new and improved approaches to care, uses of technology and medications.

Sam Hackett, clinical trials nurse coordinator, BC Cancer — Victoria

The pace of scientific discovery in cancer has never been faster, and innovative therapies and precision medicine are dramatically impacting the lives of people across the province.

Clinical trials are a critical step in this process, resulting in new and improved treatment solutions for patients across the province.

In fact, many treatments available today exist because of people who volunteered to take part in a clinical trial.

Thanks to the support of BC Cancer Foundation donors, BC Cancer – Victoria is home to a robust clinical trials team including nurse coordinator Sam Hackett, who conducts cutting-edge research and provides knowledge and support to patients.

“Clinical trials expand opportunities for people to participate in research and offer new options during an often difficult time,” says Sam. “The results lead directly to new and improved approaches to care, uses of technology and medications.”

While every day brings new “surprises, successes and challenges,” Sam says he cherishes the daily interactions and connections with patients.

“Providing direct care to patients is the highlight of my day,” he says. “I’m always excited to collaborate with diverse healthcare teams to make the clinical trial process as efficient as possible and the patient’s experience as seamless as possible.”

THE BENEFITS ARE CLEAR

By keeping up to date with the latest therapies and providing outstanding patient care, B.C has achieved some of the best cancer outcomes in the world. In the coming years, as the community’s need for cancer care increases, it is vital for BC Cancer – Victoria to be equipped and ready.

Philanthropic support for the Innovative Therapies & Precision Medicine Program at BC Cancer – Victoria will increase access to innovative treatment options for the Vancouver Island community. With more effective, less toxic treatments available, the chances of survival will improve.

Overall, support to the Clinical Trials Unit will:

  • Make more trials available to patients and increase the number of participants, ensuring patients have access to some of the latest drugs or treatment options; and
  • Ensure BC Cancer – Victoria participates in internationally and nationally significant clinical trials.  

Thanks to the ever-expanding knowledge generated through clinical trials, Sam has seen patient outcomes improve across many different types of cancers. 

“Even in just the past few years the landscape of cancer research – and most importantly how people experience cancer care – has been transforming at an incredible speed,” he says. “Groundbreaking research has fundamentally changed the way many cancers are treated.”

Clinical trials will spark progress and save lives. Show your support: contact Cynthia Durand-Smith at 250.519.5747 or cynthia.durand-smith@bccancer.bc.ca