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The CLC & the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

April 18, 2012

By the early 2000s the BC Cancer Agency clinical care programs reflected all we had learned from careful collection of the clinical records of thousands of patients over more than two decades of clinical research.

Pooling our extensive records and our rich collection of biopsy materials, we participated in the research efforts that were uncovering new insights into lymphoid cancer biology. The leaders in our program were invited to speak around the world at international conferences devoted to sharing scientific knowledge about lymphoid cancers.

However, a final ingredient was missing. Science had progressed to the point that new discoveries could only be made employing cutting edge technology applied by an emerging group of young researchers who understand the incredible power these techniques possess. Fortunately, leaders such as Dr. Don Carlow and Noble prize winner Michael Smith had the foresight to bring a genome science centre to Vancouver. Suddenly, right here in B.C., we could do what we had previously only read about in Science and Nature.

In 2005, the potential of our experienced research group was recognized through funding from the BC Cancer Foundation and The Terry Fox Foundation, with a New Frontiers Program Project Grant. The grant was received because the potential of our experienced research group was now being supported by world-class basic scientists such as Drs. Marco Marra and Steven Jones of the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre – the only genome science center in the world directly embedded in a cancer centre.

Three decades of work have paid off handsomely. The CLC working with the Genome Sciences Centre now attracts the best of young trainees and students interested in lymphoid cancer research.

Our work has been continuously supported by the BC Cancer Foundation over the decades and in 2010 the Foundation recognized our continued accomplishments and potential by making the CLC the recipient of the funds from the annual BC Cancer Foundation Inspiration Gala, providing targeted funding to support the AnGELyC project (Analysis of Genomes to Eliminate Lymphoid Cancer). Next week, for my closing post, I will summarize what we have accomplished recently and where the CLC is going in the future.

Joseph M. Connors, MD