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Hello from Dr. Scott Tyldesley

Welcome to my Partners in Discovery Blog. My name is Scott Tyldesley. I am a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency. I grew up in Port Moody B.C., and trained in medicine and radiation oncology right here in beautiful B.C. It has been 20 years since I first rotation in medical school in radiation oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. I still remember the excitement of realizing what I wanted to do with the rest of my professional life after this exposure to the level of clinical and research excellence the Agency delivers. I had some great initial mentors then, many of whom have become very...

Introducing April Guest Blogger Dr. Scott Tyldesley

Hello everyone, First of all, thank you to Dr. Brad Nelson for providing an inside look at the work being done to advance immunotherapy research at Victoria’s Deeley Research Centre. Immunotherapy is a truly exciting frontier and philanthropy is helping to propel this project forward for the benefit of patients across the province. And now, please join me in welcoming our guest blogger for April: Dr. Scott Tyldesley is a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, specializing in genitourinary and breast cancers. He is an expert in health policy, health services research and needs...

Dr. Brad Nelson: Looking Ahead

I hope by now I’ve helped you understand why I am so excited about the future of immunotherapy research and treatment in British Columbia. There is currently a lot of excitement about “immune modulators,” agents that ramp up the immune system. These agents are just emerging from clinical trials and I predict they will become commonplace in a few years. By “turning up the volume” on the immune system, immune modulators alone will have a strong impact on certain types of cancer. Our vision is to further focus the immune response using personalized vaccines that teach the immune system to...

Philanthropy and the Future of Immunotherapy Research

As a concept, immunotherapy fascinates a lot of people: the idea that the immune system can destroy cancer cells anywhere in the body brings a great sense of empowerment about our health. I’ve seen the way this resonates with patients, and I’m so pleased that in the last ten years we’ve established hard evidence that patients with a strong immune response live longer. For a long time, this was something we wanted to believe, and now we actually have the proof. Two FDA-approved immunotherapies are now on the world market—one for melanoma, another for prostate cancer—and that’s an incredible...

The Immune System and Personalized Cancer Vaccines

In my last post, I mentioned that patients who mount a strong immune response against their cancer have a much better chance of survival. To build on this natural effect, we are developing personalized vaccines that teach the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells anywhere in the body. We are now ready to take this concept forward into a Phase 1 clinical trial at the BC Cancer Agency. Here’s how the trial will work: 1. Our colleagues at the Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) will sequence the patient’s tumour and present researchers in my lab with a list of mutations found in...

Immunotherapy and New Cancer Knowledge

My research at the BC Cancer Agency is focused on a brand new concept in treatment: personalized cancer vaccines. We’re working hard to get clinical trials underway in this area. What are personalized cancer vaccines? The concept is fairly simple: we and others have shown that the immune system can recognize cancer cells as “foreign” and launch an attack. There is now irrefutable evidence that patients who mount a strong immune response against their cancer live longer. When you hear of cancer patients who “beat the odds” and live many years more than expected, often it’s because their immune...

A Day at the Deeley Research Centre

Hi, my name is Dr. Brad Nelson and I’m the Director of the Deeley Research Centre at the BC Cancer Agency in Victoria. I’m very pleased to be returning for a second time as guest blogger , and wanted to begin by sharing with you a bit about my daily work at the Centre: I’m often asked, “What do you like most about your job?” That’s easy. I have a team of a dozen people, including graduate students, post-docs and research assistants. At any given time, we have 10-15 different experiments underway, so there is a constant stream of new results to discuss. Everyone in the lab knows that I am a “...

Introducing Guest Blogger Dr. Brad Nelson

Hello everyone, I want to start with thanks to Dr. Keith Humphries for his insightful posts on the future of stem cell research at the BC Cancer Agency. We’re very pleased to welcome back Dr. Brad Nelson as guest blogger for March. As you may remember, Dr. Nelson blogged for us back in February 2011 about groundbreaking research happening at the Deeley Research Centre on Vancouver Island. We are thrilled that Dr. Nelson has returned to give us an update on his team’s work in immunotherapy, which is about to take an exciting leap forward. Thanks for reading, Doug

Dr. Keith Humphries: Looking Ahead

Science tends not to be a series of “eureka” moments but rather, if one is lucky, the odd eureka interspersed with a lot of hard slogging. In the mid ‘90s my group made the rather startling discovery that we could stimulate the expansion of blood-forming stem cells by engineering the overexpression of a single gene. By 2002 we had advanced this discovery to show that it was possible to expand stem cells in the laboratory. These discoveries were based on ten years of previous work (the hard slogging bit) by which we developed and optimized methods of genetically modifying stem cells with...

The Impact of Philanthropy at the Terry Fox Laboratory

How do BC Cancer Foundation donors support my research? The answer to be complete would take pages, literally. But let me hit the highlights: It is now eight years ago that we were able to move our lab from the old research centre (the old bakery, as we called it) to the state-of-the-art BC Cancer Agency Research Centre. Without generous donations to the BC Cancer Foundation this would never have happened. Indeed this was a transformational event, finally giving us space to grow and to have room for specialized core facilities that have allowed all of us working in the Centre to remain...

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