Building bridges to improve cancer treatment

On October 24, The Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology (CPO) hosted its second annual Research Symposium entitled Progress in Fighting Cancer. Building on the success of last year’s event, the symposium featured world-renowned researchers and clinicians who shared the latest developments in cutting-edge cancer research.

“As researchers, we are often isolated in our own fields. The CPO symposium is an opportunity for cancer researchers, oncologists and graduate students to come together and share their work,” said Dr. Raymond Reilly, Director of the CPO, one of several centres of research excellence based at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. “It is also an opportunity for the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy to take a lead role promoting the work of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists dedicated to addressing the cancer problem.”

One highlight of the day was keynote speaker Dr. Michael E. Phelps, Chair, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). Together with Dr. Edward J. Hoffmann, he invented Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a groundbreaking nuclear medicine imaging tool now used to detect cancer, determine its stage, and monitor response to treatment. Today there are over 4,000 clinical PET scanners worldwide used to provide care to over 8 million cancer patients per year. In Canada, more than 60,000 PET scans are performed every year.

“A major goal of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy is to build collaborations among researchers to tackle the research questions that matter the most to Canadians and to people around the globe,” said Dean Heather Boon. “This Research Symposium provides a great opportunity for the members of the CPO to reach out to internationally renowned cancer scientists who have made pivotal discoveries that are driving new ways of thinking about cancer detection and treatment. It also provides a wonderful forum for networking that will catalyze new ideas that may lead to discoveries that shape future approaches to addressing the daunting challenge that is cancer.”

Other visiting experts included Dr. Marcel Bally, University of British Columbia and Dr. Kay-Uwe Wagner, University of Nebraska.

Graduate students in the CPO also had the opportunity to showcase their research in a poster presentation session. Students provided a one-minute “elevator pitch” preview to describe their work and entice colleagues to visit their poster station for further discussion.

(Research poster presentations at the CPO Symposium)