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Introducing Guest Blogger Dr. Keith Humphries

Hello everyone, Thank you to our January guest blogger Dr. Bernie Eigl for starting the year on a high note with a fascinating look at clinical trials - we wish Dr. Eigl great success as clinical trials research continues to expand in B.C. We're very pleased to have Dr. Keith Humphries join us as guest blogger for February. Dr. Humphries is the Director of the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre, where he and his team are doing excellent work in stem cell research to improve cancer outcomes for patients here in British Columbia and across the globe. Thanks for reading...

Clinical Trials: An Inspiring Story

I received some distressing news yesterday. One of my friends, I’ll call him “B”, is in hospital. From what I was told, he’s had a heart attack and is in very serious condition. My thoughts are with B and his loving wife. This worrying news made me reflect back on my relationship with B. We’ve known each other for over six years, he was a patient of mine back in Calgary. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than 15 years ago and had been told his disease was “incurable” long before I met him. His cancer (like most) responded and then progressed with the usual lines of treatment (mainly...

Clinical Trials: Benefits for the Whole Population

Imagine this: You’ve been diagnosed with cancer, but it is treatable. There are two cancer hospitals you could go to for care. Both have access to all the same treatments. Both have reputable staff and modern facilities. In short, both hospitals look the same to a casual observer. But there is a difference … if you go to one of these two hospitals, you have an 82% higher risk of death. What accounts for this difference? The hospital with better outcomes participates in clinical trials . . . that’s it. If you live in Germany and happen to have ovarian cancer, this is a true story[1]. In a...

What is a Clinical Trial?

As I prepare to write this second entry into the blog, I’ve come to the realization that I could write pages and pages about clinical trials (it’s my passion, after all) and flood you with what I thought was important. Instead I’m going to write a little, and hope that it raises questions which I’ll be happy to try and answer. Let me know if I’m making sense here. What is a clinical trial? In simplest terms, a clinical trial is a way of trying to figure out if we can do something better than we are doing it now. That could take the form of a study to ask “Will treatment A make people live...

Hi and Happy New Year from Dr. Bernie Eigl

Hi and Happy New Year, My name is Bernie Eigl, and I’m really excited to be the blogger this month. I’d like to first thank the BC Cancer Foundation for providing this opportunity for some of the amazing people in our organization to talk about what they do and why, and how partners like the Foundation make this possible. The fact that you are here reading this, and I am here writing this, means we care! I hope in the next few weeks to share some insight into the world of cancer clinical trials, and why this kind of research is not just good science, but also the highest aspiration of patient...

Introducing Guest Blogger Dr. Bernie Eigl

Hello everyone, Thank you to our December guest blogger Dr.Kirpal Kohli for finishing off the year with an exciting glimpse into the world of medical physics and radiotherapy at the BC Cancer Agency. I'm very pleased to welcome our first guest blogger for 2013, Dr. Bernie Eigl. Dr. Eigl is a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency and has recently returned to Vancouver from Alberta, where he served as the Director of the Alberta Clinical Cancer Research Unit. We are pleased to have Dr. Eigl back in B.C. to take on the role of Provincial Director of Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials and look...

Happy New Year and Exciting News from the BC Cancer Agency

Hello everyone, Happy new year to all our readers across the province. I am very pleased to kick off 2013 with exciting news from the BC Cancer Agency: the work of Dr. Sam Aparicio, Dr. Marco Marra and Dr. Sohrab Shah has been recognized in the BBC's Medical Sciences News Highlights of 2012 . As we reported on the blog in April , their innovative global study is revolutionizing the way we look at breast cancer by re-classifying the disease into ten new subtypes. We are so proud to see our leaders recognized on the international stage for research that offers hope and optimism to breast cancer...

BC Cancer Agency: Current Research and Looking Ahead

The research my colleagues and I are currently focusing on is the development of a new electrical impedance-based system for simultaneous cardiac and respiratory gating. This technique involves applying constant low electrical current signals to the body and monitoring change in voltage across the chest area to indicate breathing and cardiac activity simultaneously. This device will be linked to the radiation treatment device so that we can control delivery of the radiation beam during the appropriate portion of breathing and cardiac cycle. This way we may be able to improve delivery of...

My Work in Radiotherapy at the BC Cancer Agency

I joined the BC Cancer agency in 2006 because of the Agency’s mandate and vision of "a cancer free society." We are working collectively to achieve this broad aim: To reduce the incidence of cancer. To reduce the mortality rate of people with cancer. To improve the quality of life of people living with cancer. I personally like to live closer to nature, and this also attracted me towards a career in beautiful British Columbia. At the BC Cancer Agency, my work involves radiotherapy, which is a way of treating or managing cancer using high energy ionizing radiation. Along with surgery and...

Medical Physics at the BC Cancer Agency

Hello everyone, Some of you may be interested to know the role of medical physicists in cancer treatment. Medical physicists are health care professionals with specialized training in an application of physics in medicine and are an integral part of the Radiation Oncology team where cancer patients are treated with high energy radiation. Medical physicists perform an important role working along with the radiation oncologist, the radiotherapy technologist and others, to assure the accurate radiation dose is delivered at right location. They are scientists with graduate training in physics (M...

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