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Dr. Richard Klasa, MD

Senior Scientist



  • Medical Oncologist, Division of Medical Oncology and Department of Experimental Therapeutics
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine, University of British Columbia 

    Research Interests:


    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. Our group 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.


    My 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.



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