Awards were given in the categories of Basic Research (two prizes awarded: 1st place prize $1000, 2nd place prize $500), Clinical Research (one prize awarded: $1000), and Cancer Control Research and Health Services Research related to cancer (including Health Economics) (one prize awarded: $1000).
In the category of Basic research, first-place was awarded to Allen Zhang, an MD/PhD graduate student supervised by Dr. Sohrab Shah in the Department of Molecular Oncology, for the paper “Interfaces of Malignant and Immunologic Clonal Dynamics in Ovarian Cancer” published in Cell. In this work, Zhang and colleagues identified three different immunologic subtypes across metastatic sites in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC), the most common type of ovarian cancer. This finding may be exploited in future immuno-oncologic therapeutic strategies for HGSC.
Second-place in the category of Basic Research was awarded to Damian Lai, an MSc graduate supervised by Dr. Xiaoyan Jiang from the Terry Fox Laboratory, for the paper “PP2A inhibition sensitizes cancer stem cells to ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors in BCR-ABL+ human leukemia” published in Science Translational Medicine. In this paper, Lai and colleagues identified the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as a critical therapeutic target in drug-resistant blood cancer cells, including blood cancer stem cells from chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, which may have implications for other malignancies where PP2A is highly increased.
The award for the best Clinical Research paper was given to Daniel Louie, a PhD student studying at the School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, supervised by Dr. Tim Lee from the department of Cancer Control Research for the paper “Degree of optical polarization as a tool for detecting melanoma: Proof of principle” published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics. In this study, Lee and colleagues present the first clinical use of a novel probe utilizing the degree of polarization (DOP) to detect differences between cancerous and benign skin lesions, demonstrating DOP as a potentially useful diagnostic property to detect melanoma.
In the category of Cancer Control Research and Health Services Research related to cancer (including Health Economics), the award was presented to Dr. Ryan Woods, a PhD student supervised by Dr. John Spinelli in the department of Cancer Control Research for the paper “Breast screening participation and retention among immigrants and non-immigrants in British Columbia: A population-based study” published in Cancer Medicine. In this publication, Dr. Woods and colleagues examined breast cancer incidence by birth country, and discovered important variation in risk that is not observable when data are aggregated at the world region level.