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Dr. Poul Sorensen: My Background

I’m originally from Denmark, but have lived in Canada since I was about nine years old. My family first moved to Victoria, then to Richmond, B.C. I’ve always had an interest in how things work and this eventually led me to the University of British Columbia (UBC), where I studied biophysics and biochemistry. During this time, I discovered my passion for medical research and decided to go to medical school. I studied medicine at UBC and McGill University. While at UBC, Dr. David Hardwick, former head of Pathology at the BC Cancer Agency, became a big influence on my studies. As a pathologist,...

Good luck Riders from Dr. Poul Sorensen

Thanks for the introduction Doug; and the opportunity to blog this month. My name is Dr. Poul Sorensen and I am a senior scientist at the BC Cancer Agency in the Childhood Cancer Research program. I’ve been working here since 2005. Before I get into my background, I want to briefly say good luck to all the participants in this weekend’s Ride to Conquer Cancer ! I’m riding with Team Finn again this year and looking forward to joining you all on the road. I know you are all making a difference, and in my later posts I’ll explain how your support is helping my research at the BC Cancer Agency...

Father’s Day, The BC Ride & Dr. Poul Sorensen

Thank you Dr. Shah for sharing with us the amazing progress you have seen in cancer genome research, and your involvement in the recent breast cancer breakthroughs at the BC Cancer Agency. Before I introduce our June guest blogger, I’d like to highlight a couple of upcoming events: Father’s Day is just around the corner, and for many this is an opportunity to share with loved ones and honour those who have been affected by cancer. I encourage you to consider the gift of cancer research this Father’s Day. It is a meaningful gift that can make a difference. Please visit our website to learn...

The time to support cancer research is now

Thank you for reading my posts thus far. I thought I would close with some thoughts on looking forward. It is a particularly exciting time for cancer research and there are many reasons for patients to be optimistic that real progress is being made in our understanding of cancer. A major goal of the BC Cancer Agency is to translate research findings into clinical application. The future directions for my lab are to investigate how clonal diversity in tumours impacts patient outcomes. We will ask questions like: Can the degree of clonal diversity within a patient's tumour predict how a patient...

More progress and the importance of studying breast cancer genomes

In another recent study this year with Dr. Sam Aparicio, and Dr. Carlos Caldas, of Cambridge University, we explored the genomes of breast cancers and my team was responsible for the computational analysis of more than two million genomic measurements for each of 2000 breast cancers. You can read more about study here , it was also published in Nature magazine. We set out to find patterns in the population of breast cancer tumours, and look at other questions like, what genomic patterns are in common? And could they be used to group patients together to help predict clinical behaviour? Using...

The Jambor-McCarthy legacy: A $21.4 million Gift Twenty Years in the Making

…just a brief interruption of Dr. Shah’s posts, to share some exciting breaking news: This morning, we announced the largest charitable bequest to a single beneficiary in British Columbia’s history. The late John Jambor gifted the astounding $21.4 million Jambor-McCarthy legacy to the BC Cancer Foundation, together with William P.J. McCarthy, businessman, Jambor’s grandson, and executor of his estate. The Jambor-McCarthy legacy will accelerate improvements in cancer outcomes and improve the long-term health and wellness of thousands of cancer patients with a $15 million permanent endowment...

Cancer Genome Sequencing and Amazing Progress

The field of cancer genome sequencing has exploded due to amazing early progress in identifying new mutations in cancer, patterns of how tumours change over time and identification of new disease subtypes. The work my team and I have done has contributed to this progress due to innovations in computationally modeling these datasets to infer mutations responsible for disease. Currently my work is focused on analysis of ovarian, breast and lymphoid cancers. There is so much we do not yet understand about the behaviour of these diseases in the context of chemotherapeutic response, progression...

Introducing Bust a Move for Breast Health!

On behalf of everyone at the BC Cancer Foundation, I am so thrilled to introduce you to our epic new event– Bust a Move for Breast Health . Launched this afternoon with an exhilarating outdoor fitness session at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Georgia St. Plaza, Bust a Move will change the face of breast cancer research for the benefit of patients across the province and beyond. On April 13, 2013 hundreds of participants will converge at the Richmond Olympic Oval for the MOVEment of the year: a day-long fitness fundraising extravaganza that will make a difference for the more than 3,200 British...

A disease of the genome & Me at the BC Cancer Agency

During my PhD at UBC, I became convinced of a notion that had been known for decades: “cancer is a disease of the genome”. So naturally, to further our understanding of cancer, the genomes of tumours would need to be precisely decoded. Frustratingly, technology did not yet exist to study individual tumours in this way. After all, it took the human genome project billions of dollars, 15 years and 1000s of scientists to sequence a single genome. Remarkably, a sea of change in technology in the past five years has brought sequencing the genomes of individuals within practical reach. We are...

Who is Dr. Sohrab Shah?

Thank you Doug, I’m glad to be joining the roster of guest bloggers here at the BC Cancer Foundation. I’m a fan of the virtual word myself, I enjoy using Twitter ( @sohrabshah ) and I have a blog of my own as well: http://compbio.bccrc.ca/ . I’ll start from the top. I was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and studied biology at Queen’s University in Kingston. There, I first learned the principles of evolution (more on this later). Towards the end of that degree I became interested in computers and decided to take a degree in computer science at the University of British Columbia (UBC)...

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