New directions in cancer research

Photo by Juzer Kakal. Licensed under CC BY 4.0
Photo by Juzer Kakal. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Last year, an estimated 78,000 deaths occurred from cancer in Canada, and an additional 196,900 new cases were diagnosed. While traditional surgical methods and conventional drug therapies have had some effect in slowing or stopping the progress of many cancers, better tools for early detection and treatment are urgently needed to improve clinical care and the health outcomes for the growing number of cancer patients worldwide.

Members of the UBC Faculty of Medicine are currently pursuing world-leading studies and clinical trials to intervene in some of the world’s most biologically complex forms of cancer, including ovarian, endometrial, cervical, pancreatic, and lung cancer.

What we know about cancer has evolved over the past decade, thanks to the pioneering work of many UBC researchers and clinical-scientists. For example, ovarian cancer is no longer considered to be one disease but many disease types – each with its own identity and unique expression, and each requiring a personalized therapy. In many of the most aggressive forms of cancer, recent studies have shown that tumour cells can develop resistance to the body’s immune defenses, as well as to existing treatments and drug therapies.

Alternative methods of treatment and prevention are needed to stem the progress of these diseases.

UBC researchers are currently leading the way towards eliminating some cancers, such as vaccine preventable cervical cancer. Using cancer genomics and tumour-targeting drug therapies, clinical-scientists are discovering novel screening methods and less invasive treatments for the specificity and variability of many forms of cancer.

Donate today to support this translational research and help create better options for preventing, detecting, and treating cancer to improve care in Canada and beyond.