Donation from the Collings Stevens Family Foundation to BC Cancer Foundation supports critical cancer research
Hilary Stevens and Allan Collings
The BC Cancer Foundation is proud to announce the renaming of the Jiang Lab as the Collings Stevens Chronic Leukemia Research Laboratory in recognition of Allan Collings’ and Hilary Stevens’ significant contributions to BC Cancer.
This is the largest healthcare gift to date for the Collings Stevens Family Foundation, and represents their deep belief that research is crucial to creating better cancer outcomes.
The $1 million donation will support critical research into Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), under Dr. Xiaoyan Jiang, Distinguished Scientist at BC Cancer, in what is now named the Collings Stevens Chronic Leukemia Research Laboratory, located in the L.J. Blackmore Cancer Research Centre, BC Cancer – Vancouver.
“We want to provide ongoing support to the incredible team at BC Cancer to play a role in advancing CML research, to help change outcomes and provide hope for other families like ours,” says Allan and Hilary. “We are thrilled to be able to invest in this inspiring team and their work.”
BC Cancer is home to one of the most advanced and tightly knit multidisciplinary communities of scientists in Canada. CML and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) studies at BC Cancer in both models and human samples, have significantly contributed to our understanding of the disease.
With funds provided by the Collings Stevens Family Foundation, Dr. Jiang and her colleagues including Dr. Florian Kuchenbauer and Dr. Connie Eaves, established a Preclinical Therapeutics Unit (PTU) at BC Cancer, where they are examining new treatments in patient models. By identifying new drugs, predictive biomarkers and treatment strategies, this work will have a significant impact for CML patients in British Columbia and beyond.
Early relapse and resistant disease prevent many CML patients from being cured and life-long treatment is required, with potential side effects and high costs. In some patients, the cancer returns in a form that is untreatable.
“We’re aiming to help address this by finding new, more effective, less toxic personalized treatments,” says Dr. Jiang. “Our goal is to develop combination therapies that can directly target drug-resistant cells, particularly cancer stem cells that contribute to the root cause of resistance and relapse ultimately resulting in curative therapies.”
“The Collings Stevens Family Foundation’s generous support of BC Cancer’s research demonstrates the impact philanthropy has,” says Sarah Roth, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. “Blood cancers are challenging to treat, requiring specialized approaches. This donation enables innovative research in a lab focused on discoveries for people facing a CML diagnosis in B.C. and beyond, bringing them hope. Now, breakthroughs will come from a lab that bears Allan’s and Hilary’s names as an acknowledgement of the incredible work that they are making possible.”
CML research is personal to the Collings Stevens Family Foundation, as five years ago, Allan was diagnosed with blood cancer. Now, he and Hilary are incredibly grateful that a daily dose of Imatinib (Gleevec) has worked miracles — however, they know not everyone is so lucky.
“More research needs to be done to help people that are not as fortunate, for whom the existing medications are not as effective,” says Allan. “We need to find solutions for these people.”
“It’s an honour to have our names associated with this new research undertaking and the incredible people that work in this lab,” says Hilary. “With the collective intelligence in that lab, we’re really optimistic that they’ll make some great discoveries,” adds Allan.
For more information on CML research and the work being done in the Collings Stevens Chronic Leukemia Research Laboratory, visit here: https://www.bccrc.ca/dept/tfl/labs/collings-stevens-chronic-leukemia-research-laboratory