The research conducted in my laboratory focuses on developing improved protocols for the treatment of cancer. Clinicians have an arsenal of very potent drugs available for treatment of cancer. These drugs, however, lack specificity and often produce severe, life threatening, toxicities. Further, optimal therapeutic effects of any anticancer drug appear to be dependent on their use in a combination setting. Multi-agent therapy is the standard by which cancer is treated. Based on this understanding, research in my laboratory is designing methods and strategies for capturing the benefits of drug combination effects that are often first measured using cell based screening assays. Although basic research interests include evaluation of novel targeted anticancer drugs, my group is also comprehensively pursuing combinations of existing, already approved, cytotoxic agents. The latter studies will provide the proof of concept data needed to demonstrate the value of pursuing anticancer drug combination products. These products will be of particular interest when used with emerging targeted agents, but will also demonstrate the potential to develop new products that may consist of two or more targeted agents.

In order to achieve this, my research group embraces two fundamental principles: (i) drug combination products will be dependent on use of drug carrier technologies and (ii) drug combination products should achieve optimal therapeutic effects using better tolerated drug doses. I have extensive expertise on the use of liposome drug carriers for improving the specificity of anti-cancer drugs as well as enabling the use of some exciting new biologically active agents, such as therapeutically active antibodies, nucleic acid drugs (antisense oligonucleotides and siRNA) and therapeutically active peptides. In general terms, liposomes are small microscopic bags prepared from natural and synthetic lipids (fats). The therapeutic activity of conventional anti-cancer drugs can be improved, sometimes dramatically, when given intravenously trapped inside these lipid bags. Mechanistically, it has been suggested that liposomal drugs deliver more drug to tumors then conventional drug and development of this technology has been based on achieving improvements in drug delivery to sites of cancer growth. It is believed that delivery of liposomal drug carriers from the blood to interstitial sites within the tumor is due to characteristics of tumor blood vessels. In addition, my research clearly establishes that drug release from liposomes, whether in the blood compartment or within the tumor, can increase tumor cell exposure to anticancer drugs. Based on this understanding, my lab is now using drug carriers, such as liposomes, to provide the format to deliver combinations of drugs that are shown, via high content cell screening assays, to interact to achieve better than expect (synergistic) therapeutic activity.




Dr. Nancy Dos Santos , PhD, MBA

Director, Investigational Drug Program



Open Positions

Research Assistant 2

Application Deadline

What you’ll do 

  • Performs a variety of established technical procedures according to written protocols, including revising and updating all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in compliance with internal IDP change control procedures, all safety standards as mandated by WCB, UBC, BCCA/BCCRC and cGMP and GLP regulations.
  • Provides assistance in various quality management activities to ensure all IDP processes and systems  operate in compliance with GxP regulations which includes but not limited to: (1) maintaining equipment qualification, validation and preventive  maintenance program including all records, (2) maintaining vendor and contractor surveillance program including all documentation (3) maintaining IDP training records and documentation  system, and (4) overseeing maintenance of environmental monitoring systems: validation status, system preventative maintenance and records as required.
  • Provides backup support for quality assurance with inspection of IDP manufacturing activities and review of Batch Record documentation as required.
  • Provides support in hosting and handling of external client and regulatory audits of the IDP as required.
  • Maintains inventory of laboratory supplies and equipment including assigning and tracking usage of laboratory notebooks and archiving of completed notebooks.
  • Provides support in IDP shipping functions as required.
  • Provides support in quality control functions including searching for vendors, sampling of raw materials and supplies, performing monitoring data trend analysis as required.
  • Provides overall  backup quality control/archivist/quality assurance function to the IDP QMU as required.
  • Maintaining documentation and reviewing department lab equipment inventory, cytotoxic and radionucleotide inventory.
  • Facilitates quality assurance retain samples inventory system.
  • Performs other document control and management related duties as assigned.
  • May demonstrate work methods or procedures to less experienced assistants as designated.

What you bring  

  • A level of education, training, and experience equivalent to graduation from a recognized Bachelor’s program in an appropriate discipline (e.g. Bachelor of Science)
  • Two (2) years of recent related experience in a research laboratory.
  • Experience working in GMP or GLP environment is an asset.

How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume to

Research Administration Coordinator

Application Deadline

What you’ll do 

  • In collaboration with the Principal Investigator(s) (PIs) coordinate the preparation and submission of grant proposals by identifying submission guidelines, collating information required and ensuring submission deadlines are met. Follow up with the granting agency on the submission of proposals, monitors post award financial accounts to ensure accuracy. Provide progress reports, highlight discrepancies and provide recommendations to resolve discrepancies and budget concerns to the PI(s) as appropriate. 
  • Interact with a variety of individuals and agencies such as universities and granting agencies both national and international. Ensure flow of information with internal and external stakeholders regarding grant related matters and make arrangements for visiting speakers and guests.
  • Human resources responsibilities include recruitment of staff by posting/advertising internally and externally (UBC), coordinating interviews and screening applications for review by hiring supervisors. Manage new hires orientation process in the department and ensures all safety and personnel documentations are in place according to policies, guidelines and legislations.
  • Ensure all hiring, appointment and payroll processes such as new hire letters and timekeeping are complete for employees. Liaise with various PHSA units such as Payroll and Human Resources and in some cases, UBC to ensure a seamless process and minimize errors. Bring issues and recommendations of remedies to department head or designate for approval. 
  • Act as the main contact for ordering supplies for the department and approves lab and office supplies by performing duties such as submitting purchase requisitions and obtaining authorizing signature as necessary. Manage and process various requisitions such as travel, expense reimbursements, cheque requests, and honorariums for the Department Head and PIs. Act as liaison with various departments of BCCA/PHSA including purchasing, stores, and finance to obtain information and follow-up on the status of outstanding issues and requests. 
  • Coordinate registration and travel arrangements for staff attendance at seminars and meetings. This includes completing registration (on-line or phone), abstract submission, making travel and lodging reservations, culminating expense reimbursements to the attendee and/or cost recovery from the conference organizers as appropriate.
  • Provide work direction to junior and contract administrative staff including orientating new staff and assigning and reviewing work, coordinating work assignments to ensure completion, answering questions and providing support, ensuring policies and procedures are followed and providing input to performance evaluations as required.


What you bring  

  • A level of education, training, and experience equivalent to a Diploma in a relevant area such as business administration or finance from a recognized college
  • Three (3) years’ recent related experience a research environment and in project management. 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to demonstrate good judgment, tact and discretion.
  • Detail oriented and able to complete accurate work in a timely matter.
  • Demonstrated time management skills and ability to assist others in meeting deadlines.
  • Knowledge of and experience with grant applications.
  • Knowledge and experience in budget preparation, tracking expenditures and identifying sources of variance.
  • Proficient in scientific and medical terminology.
  • Ability to work both independently and as team leader to organize work and manage multiple priorities in a fast paced environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to make sound decisions and resolve administrative issues/problems.
  • Fully proficient in the use of a variety of software packages including word processing, spreadsheets and databases and related equipment.
  • Demonstrated ability to evaluate personal work and existing systems and identify areas for improvement.
  • Physical ability to perform the duties of the position.

Selected Publications

Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Synergize with Catalytic Inhibitors of EZH2 to Exhibit Antitumor Activity in Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type.

Molecular cancer therapeutics, 2018
Wang, Yemin, Chen, Shary Yuting, Colborne, Shane, Lambert, Galen, Shin, Chae Young, Santos, Nancy Dos, Orlando, Krystal A, Lang, Jessica D, Hendricks, William P D, Bally, Marcel B, Karnezis, Anthony N, Hass, Ralf, Underhill, T Michael, Morin, Gregg B, Trent, Jeffrey M, Weissman, Bernard E, Huntsman, David G

CX-5461 is a DNA G-quadruplex stabilizer with selective lethality in BRCA1/2 deficient tumours.

Nature communications, 2017
Xu, Hong, Di Antonio, Marco, McKinney, Steven, Mathew, Veena, Ho, Brandon, O'Neil, Nigel J, Santos, Nancy Dos, Silvester, Jennifer, Wei, Vivien, Garcia, Jessica, Kabeer, Farhia, Lai, Daniel, Soriano, Priscilla, Banáth, Judit, Chiu, Derek S, Yap, Damian, Le, Daniel D, Ye, Frank B, Zhang, Anni, Thu, Kelsie, Soong, John, Lin, Shu-Chuan, Tsai, Angela Hsin Chin, Osako, Tomo, Algara, Teresa, Saunders, Darren N, Wong, Jason, Xian, Jian, Bally, Marcel B, Brenton, James D, Brown, Grant W, Shah, Sohrab P, Cescon, David, Mak, Tak W, Caldas, Carlos, Stirling, Peter C, Hieter, Phil, Balasubramanian, Shankar, Aparicio, Samuel


Copper Drug Complexes: Development of a novel class drugs with significant potential for treatment of platinum insensitive cancers

One strategy that Dr. Bally has been using to develop drug candidates for use in treating cancer involves repurposing drugs utilized for the treatment of diseases other than cancer; illnesses such as malaria, fungal infections or even alcoholism. He wants to repurpose these drugs for use in patients with cancer because they have unusual and unexpected ways of affecting cancer cell growth and survival. Further these drugs are very active in cancer cells that are resistant (insensitive) to one of the most commonly used drugs available to oncologist- cisplatin.

Copper-drug complexes for use in the treatment of aggressive cancers

When some drugs bind to copper, they have anticancer activity in the lab. However, these copper-drug complexes need to be reformulated for human use. With the support of an Innovation Grant, Dr Marcel Bally developed the first injectable formulation of an anticancer copper-drug molecule. He will now create additional injectable copper-drug treatments based on several other drugs. He will then study the effectiveness of these new treatments in lung and ovarian cancers that resist chemotherapy, selecting the most powerful candidates for further study.

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