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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)...

More Groundbreaking news & Introducing Dr. Sohrab Shah

What a month! April was an exciting month for milestone achievements at the BC Cancer Agency. On April 22, the Agency’s own Dr. Karen Gelmon was honoured for her contributions to breast cancer research and her new partnership with Israeli scientists at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) at a sold-out gala event co-hosted by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Following the triple negative breast cancer announcement by only a few days, scientists at the Agency announced a major research breakthrough: the identification of at least ten new subtypes...

The Future of the BC Cancer Agency Centre for Lymphoid Cancer

Forty years after cancer research was made a priority focus, we must soberly reassess the overconfidence of that era’s expectations. Genuine progress has been made in prevention, early detection, surgical intervention and palliative management of advanced disease. However, we must acknowledge that metastatic cancer is still largely incurable and the toll of cancer around the world remains enormous. Within that sober assessment, however, the lymphoid cancers stand out. Almost all Hodgkin lymphoma patients and the majority of those with large cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma are cured. For the...

Another Landmark Breast Cancer Announcement

I spoke at a news conference today for the second time in two weeks, to share another groundbreaking discovery in breast cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency. This new discovery will be a catalyst for bringing hope to breast cancer patients across the province and beyond. For the first time, the BC Cancer Agency’s breast cancer research team, led by Dr. Sam Aparicio, has identified new genes that could form the basis of next generation, targeted treatments for breast cancer. By reclassifying the disease into at least ten completely new subtypes, BC Cancer Agency researchers are placing new...

The CLC & the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

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...

The Centre for Lymphoid Cancer (CLC)

Throughout the 1980s and '90s, the BC Cancer Agency’s lymphoma research group grew steadily. Clinical staff in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Pathology conducted research projects that helped define internationally recognized treatment policies for Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lymphocytic leukemia and myeloma. We participated in and led national and international clinical trials and collaborated with clinical researchers across Canada and internationally. However, at home in Vancouver, Drs. Gascoyne, Horsman and I realized we needed to add more basic lymphoid cancer...

Dr Connors and the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer

Thanks for having me back. I’m happy to share an update with you about what’s been happening here at the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for Lymphoid Cancer (CLC). But first, I’ll back up a few steps, and introduce myself for those who may be new to the CLC. By 1981 I had finished my training in Internal Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Medical Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center. As I considered different career paths Dr. Saul Rosenberg, my fellowship program director, urged me to consider a career in academic medicine with a focus on clinical research...

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