​In 2021, an estimated 3,600 British Columbians will battle lung cancer. Lung cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer death in Canada, according to a 2021 report by the Canadian Cancer Society. For Lung Cancer Awareness Month, BC Cancer will spotlight the innovative research being done in B.C. This will be the first in a…
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Canadian scientist Dr. Pieter Cullis, together with his peers Drs Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, have been honoured with the 2021 Prince Mahidol Award for their contributions to the development of COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Through over 40 years of work in his University of British Columbia (UBC) laboratory, Dr. Cullis and UBC colleagues developed the ‘made in Canada’ linchpin…
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– Rakovina Therapeutics Inc. (TSXV: RKV) (“the Company”), a biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing new cancer therapies based on novel DNA-damage response technologies, today announced that the Company has been selected to join a three year US$975,000 (CDN1,297,000) research program funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Martha’s BEST Grant for All, which is aimed at developing new treatments for Ewing…
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Ever since she was in high school, Thea Caplan has had a fascination with genetics, and she still pores over medical journals. “That’s just my nerdy way,” Ms. Caplan said with a laugh from her home in Toronto. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago, Ms. Caplan asked for a genomic test of her tumour, a relatively new…
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Congratulations to Team British Columbia for their winning diagnostics project, detecTME, at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Their entry, a bacteria-based biosensor, relies on engineered salmonella bacteria to enter and profile immune activity within tumors in real time. This non-invasive, cost effective platform aims to improve targeting of immunotherapy in individual patients.
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The Brumer group focusses on the dissection of the molecular systems in our symbiotic gut bacteria that a responsible for the metabolism of complex carbohydrates in dietary fiber. This publication provides insight into how individual carbohydrate-active enzymes and carbohydrate-binding proteins in the human gut microbiota have evolved to recognize specific polysaccharides and break them down into simpler sugars for growth.
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Abigail Chapman Awarded SH Zbarsky Scholarship

Our students have chosen Abigail Chapman to be our newest Zbarsky recipient. The SH Zbarsky Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding PhD student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The scholarship has been endowed by the friends and colleagues of Dr. SH Zbarsky in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Biochemistry and UBC.  Dr. Zbarsky was one of…
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The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have harmonized their policy to align more clearly with the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments (PTP) with regard to the eligibility and funding of research projects or programs submitted by applicants…
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Dr. Stephen Chia was recently announced as the new head of clinical research at the BC Cancer Research Institute. In addition to this role, he retains his position as a medical oncologist at BC Cancer – Vancouver, a Professor of medicine within the Department of Medicine at UBC and the Division head for Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, UBC. An…
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Epigenetic Blood Biomarkers of Aging and Mortality in COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an age-related condition that is linked to cellular deterioration. In COPD, contributors to cell deterioration include environmental factors such as cigarette smoking and persistent lung inflammation. Environmental factors can alter the effects of genes through epigenetic modifications. These factors can also increase replicative senescence, an age-related process. Replicative senescence is characterized by progressive telomere…
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