Nanaimo BC- For most people, cancer hits close to home either through personal diagnosis or the experience of a family or a friend. Genomic researchers are working hard to understand how genetic information influences the disease, aiming to provide patients with more precise approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Genome British Columbia’s “Bringing Genomics Home” series is coming to Nanaimo. Community members are invited to participate in a discussion with leading experts to explore current and future cancer treatments incorporating genomics. In addition, local Nanaimo resident Chiquita Hessels, will offer a face to the science by discussing her journey with hereditary cancer.
Topics and speakers include:
A Wave of Change: Implementing precision medicine in BC
Catalina Lopez-Correa, Genome BC
The cancer genome through the eyes of the immune system
Brad Nelson, Deeley Research Centre
Hereditary cancer: From inherited risk to personalized treatment
Dr. Gillian Mitchell, BC Cancer Agency
The value of knowing: Genetic testing, hereditary cancer, and a new reality
Chiquita Hessels, Registered Reflexology Therapist living with Li-Fraumeni syndrome
“Genomic science is a game changer in how cancer is being understood and managed,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. “We’re delighted to bring these experts together in Nanaimo to share their significant insight and knowledge on the opportunity for genomics and cancer.”
This free public talk begins at 6:00pm on Wednesday, February 17th at Beban Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road (Lounge C), Nanaimo BC. For more information and to register for this free event please visit: www.genomebc.ca/bghnanaimo.
Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, MD, PhD
Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa joined Genome BC as Vice President, Sector Development and Chief Scientific Officer in January 2016. With over 18 years of international experience in both the academic and private sectors, Catalina brings her deep understanding of genomics to the Genome BC leadership team. Catalina holds an MD from UPB University in Colombia, a Masters in Genetics from Paris VII/Pasteur Institute and a PhD in Medical Biosciences-Genetics from KULeuven in Belgium. Most recently she was the Vice-President and CSO, Scientific Affairs, at Genome Quebec where she was instrumental in developing competitive teams for national and provincial research projects, and raising the profile of Genome Quebec on the global stage.
Dr. Brad Nelson, PhD
Dr. Brad Nelson is the founding Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Deeley Research Centre in Victoria, BC. Brad is a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and a Professor of Biochemistry/Microbiology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Nelson’s lab studies the immune response to cancer, with an emphasis on ovarian, breast and lymphoid cancers. With collaborators at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre, his group is investigating how the immune system contends with the evolving tumor genome over space and time.
Dr. Gillian Mitchell, MD, PhD
Dr. Gillian Mitchell is a UK-trained clinical oncologist (dual training in medical and radiation oncology) at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London and then undertook a PhD in cancer genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Gillian moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was appointed as a medical and radiation oncologist and the Director of the Familial Cancer Centre at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne. Gillian then relocated to Vancouver and took up the position of Medical Director of the Hereditary Cancer Program at the BC Cancer Agency in British Columbia in 2014. Her current research interests involve early stage trials of targeted agents in genetically predisposed cancer patients as well as studies to improve personal cancer risk prediction, targeted cancer screening programs and the integration of new genetic technology into clinical practice.
Chiquita Hessels lives in the Nanaimo community where she is currently taking a sabbatical from her reflexology practice. In 2011, Chiquita was diagnosed with breast cancer, a diagnosis that came shortly after losing two close family members to cancer. These events inspired Chiquita to seek out advice on whether there was a hereditary connection behind her family’s cancer history. Through the BC Cancer Agency, Chiquita was able to undergo a new genetic panel test that looks for mutations in 14 of the more common genes that can cause cancer. This test confirmed that Chiquita had Li Fraumeni Syndrome, a rare hereditary cancer disorder. Having this information allows Chiquita to better monitor her risks to certain types of cancer and avoid treatments she is not compatible with because of her genetic disorder. This diagnosis has also been vital for her family. Of four close family relatives, three have also tested positive for Li Fraumeni disorder.