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HSIP 2007 Program


HSIP 2007 Interns (Clockwise: Graham Inglis, Kelsey Neale, Jessica Tamura-Wells, Lindsay Mackas-Burns)

Project for 2007

There is little information available on whether standard treatments for prostate cancer can induce tumour-specific immune responses, which could potentially influence clinical outcomes. Radiation therapy causes inflammation associated with the expression of inflammatory cytokines and other co-stimulatory molecules. Likewise, neoadjuvant hormone therapy has been shown to cause prominent T cell infiltration of prostate tumours. Based on such findings, we asked whether radiation therapy (RT) and hormone therapy (HT) might induce tumour-specific immune responses in prostate cancer. Our preliminary results indicate that HT and RT both induce tumour-specific autoantibody responses in up to 30% of patients, depending on the stage of disease and specific treatment.

To determine whether tumour-specific autoantibody profiles differ in prostate cancer patients with recurrent versus non-recurrent disease, blood will be collected from prostate cancer patients treated approximately 5 years ago who now have recurrent versus non-recurrent disease.

This summer, Graham, Jessica, Kelsey and Lindsay will use this collected blood serum which contains antibodies. In a series of steps, a prostate cancer library is screened with serum on the membrane, and any “positive” proteins that are reactive with patient antibodies are isolated and identified by sequencing. In doing so, we can identify tumour-specific antigens that the patients′ immune responses are reacting to.


Meet the Interns

Graham Inglis - St. Michael's University School

Graham is going into grade 12 at St. Michael′s University School. An aspiring rugby star, Graham captained the greatly outnumbered HSIP stair–climbing team to a stunning victory over the slightly over–the–hill DRC team! In his spare time Graham likes to screen nitrocellulose membranes using SEREX methodology in the neverending quest to identify novel prostate cancer antigens. As well as all this, he loves to play his cello, ride his bike, hike and go camping. He is involved with many groups including the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association, Free the Children, Habitat for Humanity and many others. Go Graham!

“The HSIP program is quite possibly the best summer job anyone could ever have. Not only is it amazing just to be part of a working lab but the friends you make and the knowledge you gain is simply unparalleled. A large part of what made this experience so amazing was everyone at the lab′s willingness to help or answer questions and their incredibly kind and generous nature. One of the hardest things in life is to say goodbye and this one will not be easy.”



Jessica Tamura-Wells - Reynolds Secondary School

UPDATE: Since graduating from Reynolds Secondary School in 2008, Jessica has been studying general sciences at the University of Victoria. So far, she has been having a great time at UVIC and at the moment, she is planning on going for a degree in Microbiology. Along with starting university, one of the most exciting things in Jessica´s life at the moment was her trip to Nepal. For both May and June of 2009, she was volunteering in Kathmandu, Nepal at an organization called NAHUDA (Nepal Natural and Human Resource Development Association). NAHUDA´s main focus is preventative screening and treatment for women´s reproductive health conditions such as cervical and breast cancer and uterine prolapse. NAHUDA also does a lot of projects that concentrate on reproductive health education and awareness in which the BC Cancer Agency was immensely helpful with their generous donation of informational material. “Having spent a summer interning at the BC Cancer Agency and 2 months at NAHUDA, it really put into perspective how drastically culture and society can shape the health needs and healthcare availability of a country.“ Jessica had an absolutely incredible experience in Nepal and at NAHUDA and found that the general cancer knowledge that she gained during her BCCA internship was very valuable.

“It was amazing to see the progress and impact that NAHUDA has made even with their limited resources. Donations, such as the informational material from the BC Cancer Agency, are incredibly valuable for NAHUDA because information that Canadians may consider common knowledge is still very much unfamiliar in Nepal.“

As far as any future plans, Jessica will be returning to UVIC for her second year in the fall and hopes to be able to do more traveling within the next few years. Her goal is still to be able to work in somewhere in the realm of healthcare after finishing her degree.



Kelsey Neale - Oak Bay Secondary School

Kelsey is entering her grade 12 year at Oak Bay Secondary School this September. During the school year she enjoys rowing on the school team as well as with Gorge Rowing Club in the spring. Kelsey also spends much or her time tap dancing at Broadstreet Dance where she has been an assistant teacher for several years. Her other interests include playing the flute and piano, skiing, reading, and hiking. At school, Kelsey is a member of Youth Against Cancer and Oak Bay Youth Outreach. She hopes to become involved with the Youth in Philanthropy Program at the BC Cancer Agency. At this time, Kelsey is unsure of exactly where she'll be next year, but is looking forward to going away to University while, on the other hand, trying to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a hula dancer!

“Being an intern at the Deeley Research Centre has been an amazing experience for me. I am very interested in pursuing a science related career and this opportunity has led me to investigate more options in the fields of cancer research and medicine. I have loved working with everyone at the Research Centre. People are very nice and always willing to teach us and answer all of our questions. I am thankful to have been given the change to work in such a fun and supportive working environment.”

“The High School Internship Program at the BC Cancer Agency originally interested me because, while gaining exposure to the medical field, I knew I would be working in a professional research environment and would get to use certain techniques in a creative and meaningful way. I have become very interested in seeing how research evolves from an idea to a result and hope that in the future I will continue to learn more about what goes on in and around this busy lab.”



Lindsay Mackas-Burns - Claremont Secondary School

Lindsay is entering her final year at Claremont Secondary and hopes that this year will be the best one yet. She is involved in Tae Kwon Do and the Jazz program at her school. She will probably attain her black belt within the next year. She also loves to draw but prefers to scribble madly in a journal instead of actual art classes. Lindsay does not have a specific career goal as of yet. She loves biology, however, she is still interested in environmental or medical research, or a medical practice. One career Lindsay will never pursue is a Stair Climber! She wishes to thank the DRC for helping her discover this.

“Adapting to a new environment is tough. When I first started work at the DRC, I felt quite hopeless. It was a very pleasant surprise - for all of us - to finally understand the purpose of our work and the science behind it all. This program is very different from high school; it's hands on approach, and everything you do is for a purpose. I learned to think more independently and to attempt to solve problems before directly asking for help. When I was really stuck, though, everyone at the lab was helpful and friendly.”

“I made lifelong friends here. A big thanks to Graham, Kelsey, and Jess for making this experience as enjoyable as it could be. This summer was the best of my life and this program is ideal for any student interested in science. Go for it! You'll be happy you did.”