BC Cancer Foundation - Spring 2015 - (Page 7)

RESEARCHER PROFILE Meet Dr. Cheryl Ho Dramatic changes happening in lung cancer research Dr. Cheryl Ho is a medical oncologist and researcher at the BC Cancer Agency, specializing in lung, head and neck cancer. Dr. Ho has seen dramatic changes in the approach to lung cancer since her career began. DISCOVERY spoke with Dr. Ho to learn more about her research. DR. CHERYL HO DISCOVERY: What led you to a career in oncology? DR. HO: I was always interested in the sciences. My father is a retired research scientist, and while growing up we spent many weekends at the lab. My decision to pursue oncology was cemented during my internal medicine residency when I worked with Dr. Mark Vincent, who emphasized the role of research and discovery. DISCOVERY: Can you describe your type of research? DR. HO: I look retrospectively at what we have changed in cancer care (for example, the addition of new drugs or alterations in radiotherapy techniques) to make sure that we are improving outcomes. We want to ensure that what we learn in clinical trials applies in the real world with real patients. I am also involved in clinical trials where new drugs are being used to treat lung cancer. This aspect of cancer care is so important for two reasons: one, it can provide an opportunity for patients to access new drugs and two, we only move forward if we learn about new treatment options. We have been involved in many clinical trials that have helped new drugs become approved and part of day-to-day practice. DISCOVERY: How does philanthropy contribute to your research? DR. HO: Much of my research at the BC Cancer Agency would not exist without our donors. We have been incredibly fortunate to be supported by the Eleni Skalbania Endowment for Lung Cancer Research, which has been instrumental in allowing us to examine the care of lung cancer patients in B.C. Many other projects are also underway looking at how chemotherapy is delivered in the city versus in rural communities and how lung cancers are different for patients who have specific cancer mutations. We are also planning to develop more educational resources for lung cancer patients to help them become their own advocates in the treatment of their disease. This is possible because of the generous support of BC Cancer Foundation donors. DISCOVERY: What does the future in cancer research hold? DR. HO: So much is happening in terms of our understanding of this disease, drug development and improving care. When I started, we treated all non-small cell lung cancers the same- we did not have the tools to select the best treatment based on the subtype of cancer. Fast forward 10 years and suddenly we realize that lung cancer can be subdivided into many different types based on different mutations and even more important, we have different targeted drugs that we can give to help these specific patients. We are also developing better tools in lung cancer for screening so that we can detect cancers earlier. The important thing for the future is to approach the problem from both directions: early detection on one end of the spectrum to developing better treatments for patients who have metastatic cancer on the other end. That will benefit everyone whose life is affected by lung cancer. READ OUR BLOG Get to know BC Cancer Agency researchers through the BC Cancer Foundation's monthly guest blogger series at bccancerfoundation.com/blog. BCCANCeRFOUNDATION.COM 7 http://www.bccancerfoundation.com/blog http://www.BCCANCeRFOUNDATION.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Cancer Foundation - Spring 2015

Opening Thoughts
Healthy Insights
Why I Give
Researcher Profile
The Future of Prostate Cancer Care
Game-Changing Cancer Research
The Protein Link to Cancer
Legacy Giving
Regional Roundup

BC Cancer Foundation - Spring 2015