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Richard Klasa

Dr. Richard Klasa, MD

Medical Oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia

Dr. Klasa received his undergraduate degree at McGill University in 1976, and completed his postgraduate training in Vancouver. Up until 2004, Dr. Klasa was the program director for the Medical Oncology Residency Training Program. Research within our group has focused on the use of biological agents in the treatment of malignancy. Cytokines, such as IL-2, are capable of inducing tumor regression by activation of various subsets of cytotoxic lymphocytes. His research group in the Division of Medical Oncology and Department of Advanced Therapeutics developed protocols for patient treatment supported by pre-clinical in vitro cell culture work as well as animal models. Immunological assays, (MLC, NK, LAK, flow cytometric immunophenotyping) supported and enhanced phase I and II clinical trials of IL-2 allowing a "bench to bedside" interface. Recent work involves the development and conduct of clinical studies of gene therapy in advanced malignancy. Pre-clinical efforts looked at feasibility of non-retroviral gene transfer with lipid/liposome vectors. On-going clinical protocols are testing the efficiency of involved HLA-B7 gene transfection into tumor nodules in vivo (genetic allogenization of tumor) with pre and post-treatment monitoring of immune parameters. His major area of clinical research is in lymphoma and melanoma. Very recently, we have begun pre-clinical work with antisense oligonucleotides targeting the BCL-2 gene in a SCID xenograft model that we have developed. Our interdisciplinary group is a translational research unit whose goal is rapid transition from concept to clinical trial.