Dr. Christian Steidl, research director of the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer at BC Cancer, has received the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award, making him the first Canadian recipient and ranking him among the most celebrated scientists in North America. The prestigious award comes with $1.5 million in research support from The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute.

The Allen Institute was founded by philanthropist Paul G. Allen, who passed away October 15 from a complication related to his recent relapse of lymphoma. The specific award areas were selected in 2017 through a series of in-depth workshops, guided by Allen and other scientific advisors. Allen was co-founder of Microsoft who created an incredible legacy through his visionary work in technology and as a philanthropist.

Dr. Steidl will take a deep dive into classical Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that typically strikes adolescents and young adults, by studying the ecosystem of cancer cells and healthy cells that together are known as the tumor microenvironment.

Nearly half of all lymphoma patients relapse, a statistic that drives Dr. Steidl and his BC Cancer colleagues to advance the understanding of this disease in order to improve outcomes.

“Cancer cells can hijack many of our bodies’ natural processes to help themselves grow and spread. To better understand this phenomenon — and ultimately improve diagnoses and treatments for patients, we will study lymphoma patients’ biopsy samples before and after cancer relapse, cell by cell,” says Steidl.

Congratulations to Dr. Steidl on this remarkable achievement!

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