Dr. Bally received his BSc (1977) and MSc (1979) degrees in biology from Texas A&M University. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia (1984). Dr. Bally is an authority in drug delivery, anti-cancer drug combinations and drug evaluation in animal models of disease. His research interests focus on the development and characterization of novel lipid-based nanoparticle formulations for use in the treatment of cancer. Dr. Bally’s is one of the founders of the Center for Drug Research and Development; an organization aimed at addressing the growing commercialization gap between discoveries made in academia and the opportunity to develop this technology to a stage where investments can be made to support clinical and commercial development. His research can be linked directly to regulatory approved drugs, one product in late stage development and several others in early stage clinical trials and preclinical development. This would include (i) Myocet; (ii) Marqibo® and (iii) Vyxeos.
Dr. Kevin Bennewith obtained his PhD in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC in 2004 studying solid tumour physiology with particular emphasis on quantifying poorly oxygenated (hypoxic) tumour cells. He then joined the laboratory of Dr. Amato Giaccia at Stanford University as a post-doctoral scholar, where he was involved in several projects investigating the role of hypoxia-induced secreted proteins in the growth and metastasis of solid tumours. His post-doctoral work included studying the role of connective tissue growth factor in pancreatic tumour growth and using an orthotopic pancreatic tumour model to study the efficacy of chemotherapeutics designed to target hypoxic tumour cells. He also helped to discover a central role for lysyl oxidase in breast cancer metastasis through promoting the recruitment of bone marrow-derived cells to metastatic target organs. Dr. Bennewith’s current research program at the BC Cancer Agency involves studying how hypoxic tumour cells promote tumour metastasis, how tumour secreted cytokines promote the recruitment of immune suppressive myeloid and lymphoid cells to various tissues, and the influence of these immune suppressive cells on primary and metastatic tumour growth. Dr. Bennewith’s research has been funded by the Terry Fox Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the BC Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Research Society, and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Career Investigator Award. Dr. Bennewith is currently a Senior Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency and an Associate Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC.
Dr. Ralph Buttyan is a Senior Research Scientist in the Vancouver Prostate Centre and has been involved in prostate cancer research for over 28 years. He recently joined the Prostate Centre from New York, USA, where he was Professor in Pathology and Urology at Columbia University and a Senior Scientist at the Ordway Research Institute.
His research interest lies in understanding the molecular and genetic changes that enable prostate cancer cells to acquire resistance to androgen ablation (hormone) and other types of therapies. These therapies are commonly used to deplete male steroids in patients when the prostate cancer has metastasized outside of the prostate. His past research included pioneering studies of the “cell suicide” process referred to as apoptosis, and he showed that genes that block this process become active as the prostate tumor develops therapy resistance. He was among the first to show the profound and early detrimental effects of androgen ablation on blood vessels that feed and oxygenate a prostate tumor. This work established hormone therapy as the earliest form of anti-angiogenic therapy used and it may provide clues as how to better use anti-angiogenic therapies for prostate cancer patients. His research was among the first to show the presence of circulating cancer cells in the bloods of prostate cancer patients and to attempt to use this criteria as a marker of future relapse after therapy.