In March, Canada’s federal government announced its 2017 budget with no increase in funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the organization that provides the vast majority of biomedical research funding to labs in Canada. This was a devastating blow to the Canadian research laboratories that have suffered a decade-long decline in funding under the previous Conservative government.…
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Expanding the Cancer Toolkit to Tackle Acute Leukemia

Treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most aggressive forms of leukemia, involves chemotherapy drugs that many patients find difficult to tolerate and long-term survival is low. New treatments are desperately needed. Dr. Keith Humphries and his program project team based at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, BC are developing cell models of leukemia that could drastically…
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Each year in Canada, more than 15,500 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy – 55% of those before the age of ten. In 50-60% of the cases, the cause is unknown. Refractory epilepsy – described as that which cannot be controlled with two or more medications – is especially dangerous, because uncontrolled seizures interfere with normal brain growth, and can…
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ReMixT: Clone-Specific Genomic Structure Estimation in Cancer

Somatic evolution of malignant cells produces tumors composed of multiple clonal populations, distinguished in part by rearrangements and copy number changes affecting chromosomal segments. Whole genome sequencing mixes the signals of sampled populations, diluting the signals of clone-specific aberrations, and complicating estimation of clone-specific genotypes. We introduce ReMixT, a method to unmix tumor and contaminating normal signals and jointly predict…
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The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) has announced its latest Foundation Grants and five members of the Faculty of Medicine are among the awardees. A total of nine researchers from UBC attracted a combined $23.4m. CIHR Foundation Grant Recipients: The five UBC Faculty of Medicine recipients and their project titles are: Michael Hayden, Professor, Department of Medical Genetics Novel Approaches Directed…
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Circulating Tumor DNA Reveals Clinically-Actionable Somatic Genome of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

Exciting new treatment options have recently emerged for metastatic bladder cancer. However, because each patient’s cancer has distinct ‘molecular’ features, patient responses to these new therapies are highly variable. Therefore, efforts are underway to develop tools for determining the ideal therapy for each individual based…
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Achieve Life Sciences, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for cytisine, an established smoking cessation treatment that has been approved and marketed in Central and Eastern Europe for more than 15 years. The company is now authorized to proceed with clinical development of cytisine in the U.S. Cytisine is a plant-based…
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Glycosyl Cations versus Allylic Cations in Spontaneous and Enzymatic Hydrolysis

This work has allowed the first direct comparison of fundamental rates of two key classes of biologically relevant reactions: glycosyl transfer and prenyl transfer. On the way we have uncovered a new class of non-sugar substrate for the enzymes we most study, the glycosidases (aka glycoside hydrolases). This opens up potential to engineer these enzymes…
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Instant HIV Home Test Launched in the Netherlands

bioLytical Laboratories, a world leader in rapid infectious disease tests, is pleased to announce the launch of the INSTI® HIV Self Test in pharmacies across the Netherlands. With a single drop of blood, the INSTI HIV Self Test is more than 99% accurate and provides a result instantly.  With other home tests, individuals must wait 15 to 20 minutes (after the test is conducted) for a…
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Can We Predict Protein from mRNA Levels?

Recent advances of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomics technologies have stimulated a large body of biomedical studies focused on the identification of molecular biomarkers that can reduce the challenges and costs associated with the prediction, diagnosis, and management of various diseases. In general, these technologies have been used separately and the integration of the information distilled from these platforms to jointly address…
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