Blood samples create cancer-fighting resource

B.C. Cancer Agency project to collect samples for a 'biobank' starts in Kelowna.

Dr. Janine Davies

Dr. Janine Davies

Newly-diagnosed cancer patients in the Southern Interior are being asked to help researchers in their fight against the disease by joining what the head of the project here calls a “biobank.”

Dr. Janine Davies, a medical oncologist with the B.C. Cancer Agency in Kelowna and the principle investigator with PREDICT (Personal Response Determinants In Cancer Therapy), told the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s annual Discovery Lunch Wednesday that by taking donated blood samples from patients, researchers could discover why some cancers affect people differently.

“PREDICT will help make patients part of the solution to the cancer problem by enabling our research to focus on the important questions,” said Davies.

“It will create a resource of patient information, blood samples, and eventually tumour samples, that can be used by researchers worldwide.

“These samples will help us to shape future treatment decisions, improving outcomes for patients down the road.“

This follows the model of a similar pilot project that started in Victoria in 2006.

PREDICT will give newly-diagnosed cancer patients the opportunity to voluntarily contribute blood samples and information to the biobank in order to help researchers answer what Davies called critical questions about cancer to advance patient care.

When the program started in Victoria, 90 per cent of new patients at the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre agreed to participate and Davies said the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre For the Southern Interior in Kelowna wants to help build on that success with thousands of samples from patients here.

Over the next few years, local cancer researchers hope to collect 5,000 samples to add to the 6,500 samples already collected on Vancouver Island.

The samples will be kept in Victoria and Davies said strict protocols will be put in place for researchers to use them as they look at specific questions about the disease.

She said in a year’s time, she hopes the biobank will include tumour samples as well.

At the lunch on Wednesday, $60,000 was raised towards the cost of the project here, money that will be added to the $110,000 already raised.

The total cost of the project is $365,000.

Cancer patient Don Robertson, who shared his story of battling a very rare form of cancer over the last 18 years, urged his fellow patients to participate in PREDICT, announcing he had already signed up.

“I am here today because someone donated to research that helped find the drug that is keeping me alive,” Robertsons aid.

“I’m now closer than ever to my wife and I’m able to have more time with our two sons.

“Everyone is so busy today that it is important to remember the impact just one person can make by participating in cancer research and help make a difference.”

Davies said the kind of breakthroughs that could result from knowing why some cancers affect people in different ways could change the way cancer patients are treated in future.

To participate in the PREDICIT program, patients must be new patients at the B.C. Cancer Agency in the Southern Interior, over 19 years of age and have not received chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Patients who have had surgery or hormone treatments for cancer are eligible.

To learn more about the project, contact the B.C. Cancer Agency in Kelowna.


 

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Tempertures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

Central Programs and Services on Richter Street.
COVID-19 exposure at Central Programs and Services

Interior Health annouces a COVID-19 exposure within Central Okanagan Schools

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
UDPATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack Facebook)
Church burns on Penticton Indian Band land

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning

Most Read