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Finding the Source

October 13, 2016

I am a Respiratory Medicine specialist looking after patients with lung cancer and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency Research Center. I lead a team of interventional pulmonologists with highly specialized skills to provide a rapid access service to diagnose lung cancer and determine the stage.

We utilize highly technical equipment, including a computerized navigation system and endoscopic ultrasound probes to localize small lesions that are beyond the visible range of a conventional bronchoscope to take a biopsy. We also use ultrasound bronchoscopy to sample lymph glands outside the windpipe and bronchial tubes to find out if lung cancer has spread.

When lung cancers are found early in the larger bronchial tubes, we can eradicate the small cancer with electrocautery or cryotherapy. We collaborate with the Cancer Imaging Group headed by Dr. Calum MacAulay to develop and test new imaging probes that can be coupled to biopsy catheters to allow us to “see” the cancer tissue before taking a biopsy or treat small, early lung cancers non-invasively using microwave in the future.

My current research is focusing on defining the role of other risk factors besides age and smoking history, such as air pollution and genetic susceptibility for lung cancer risk assessment. This will help improve our ability to identify individuals at high risk of lung cancer for early detection using low dose CT scans.

With a team of physicists, computer scientists and radiologists, I am also developing and testing computer vision technology to detect abnormal spots in screening CT scans and determine if the spots are cancerous.