YOUR IMPACT

Your Impact

OUR 2024 CAUSE: LIQUID BIOPSY TECHNOLOGY AT THE QEII

In 2024, our 10th anniversary year, our BMO Ride for Cancer community will unlock a new era of cancer care by funding liquid biopsy technology at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

Nova Scotia has the highest cancer rates in all of Canada. 1 in 3 patients will not survive. To help combat these alarming stats, our BMO Ride for Cancer community is rallying like never before to introduce a non-invasive blood test that will determine if a patient’s cancer is cured, if it has returned, and, if so, how best to treat it.

Faster diagnosis saves lives, which is why BMO Ride for Cancer is on a mission to bring rapid cancer detection and monitoring to patients who have already undergone treatment. With a simple blood test that can happen anywhere in the province, QEII experts will use a patient’s genetics to uncover whether they’re cancer-free after surgery and the earliest signs if their cancer has returned.

YOUR IMPACT.

This technology will be a total game-changer. Life-changing benefits made possible by our BMO Ride participants and their networks will include:

  • introducing a non-invasive test to detect remaining traces of cancer or determine if it’s been cured;
  • improving survival rates and provide potential cures with earlier detection and personalized treatment options;
  • sparing patients from unnecessary treatments and harmful side effects;
  • keeping care closer to home and ensuring equitable access, as patients can undergo a simple blood test in any community in Nova Scotia;
  • reducing the number of visits required to the QEII, which ultimately impacts wait times;
  • unlocking access to more clinical trials;
  • providing critical answers about a patient’s cancer sooner, helping to relieve anxiety and worry;
  • reducing costs and burden on the healthcare system as fewer biopsies and cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, are expected;
  • stopping cancer in its tracks before it spreads; and much, much more.

This project would not be a reality without our BMO Ride participants, donors and supporters and will mark one of the first times in Canada that liquid biopsies are clinically deployed and integrated into patients’ care journeys. Funding liquid biopsy technology at the QEII will have an immediate impact on the lives of patients and their families, here at home. Are you ready to save lives? Be a part of the BMO Ride movement and help bring this life-saving cancer detection and treatment option to the finish line!

$10.2 MILLON NET RAISED (AND COUNTING!) FOR CANCER CARE IN ATLANTIC CANADA SINCE 2015.

Hosted by the QEII Foundation, BMO Ride for Cancer is laser-focused on funding the best, most personalized treatment options for cancer patients and their families at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

It’s all part of our mission to continue to build a QEII centre of excellence in cancer care, equipping our healthcare teams with the most advanced equipment and technology available to help conquer this devastating disease.

Since 2015, our BMO Ride for Cancer community has played a critical role in helping to fund many cancer care initiatives across the QEII. Here are some highlights:

CAR-T THERAPY LAB

Thanks to BMO Ride, the QEII will soon be home to Atlantic Canada’s first-ever CAR-T therapy lab; a state-of-the-art space dedicated to genetically modifying a patient’s own immune cells (t-cells) to fight against their cancer with unparalleled personalization and accuracy. This revolutionary and lifesaving immunotherapy is a final lifeline and potential cure for certain blood cancer patients who’ve tried all other treatment options.

Pictured: An example of what the QEII’s new CAR-T therapy lab could look like.

PERSONALIZED RADIOTHERAPY TECHNOLOGY FOR RADIATION TREATMENTS

In January 2024, QEII cancer patients began receiving care on the first-in-the-world Ethos radiotherapy system with HyperSight. This groundbreaking technology allows care teams to target tumours while protecting surrounding organs from potential damage. For some patients, this could mean reducing the number of radiation treatment sessions required from the standard 20 down to just five. Watch a sneak peek of this technology in action.

Pictured: Members of the QEII’s cancer care team with the newly-acquired and BMO Ride supported personalized radiotherapy technology

Atlantic Canada’s first surgical robotics technology at the QEII

Atlantic Canada’s first surgical robotics technology for prostate, kidney, gynecological and ear, nose and throat (ENT) cancer surgeries at the QEII. Thanks to our BMO Ride community and QEII Foundation donors, robot-assisted surgery is now a treatment option for certain cancer patients. Healing is faster. Hospital stays are shorter. Normal life resumes sooner. More than 1,000 robotic cancer surgeries have been performed to date at the QEII. View a virtual tour of the surgical robot here.

Pictured: Members of the QEII’s urology team, Dr. Ross Mason (left) and Dr. Ricardo Rendon, who use the surgical robot to perform prostate and kidney cancer surgeries for their patients.

NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART COLPOSCOPES FOR THE QEII’S COLPOSCOPY CLINIC

This minimally-invasive tool helps diagnose and prevent cervical cancer by detecting and treating precancerous cells. With up to 200 Atlantic Canadian patients visiting the clinic each week, the impact of this diagnostic equipment is beyond measure – in some cases, unlocking the ability to stop cervical cancer in its tracks.

Pictured: Members of the QEII’s colposcopy clinic with one of four colposcopes funded by our BMO Ride community.

QEII’s new Cancer Therapy Preparation Lab

Technology and equipment within the QEII’s new Cancer Therapy Preparation Lab; a state-of-the-art space dedicated to the preparation of all drugs for the treatment and support of cancer patients at the QEII. With our BMO Ride community helping to fund innovative technologies within the new lab – like bar-coding, remote-cameras and automation – the QEII’s cancer care team has doubled the number of therapy doses they can prepare each day, reduced treatment times, and enabled new clinical trials.

View a virtual tour of the lab and the wall mural celebrating our BMO Ride community, or watch this video to hear the impact firsthand!

Pictured: Technician, Meghan Davis, stands in front of a BMO Ride-funded biological safety cabinet in the QEII’s new Cancer Therapy Preparation Lab. This cabinet is where critical doses, like chemotherapy, are safely prepared before they’re delivered to QEII patients awaiting systemic therapy treatments

Cutting-edge genetic sequencing technology at the QEII

Cutting-edge genetic sequencing technology at the QEII. In 2022, the QEII became home to a best-in-class genetic sequencing machine, which will analyze the genes of thousands of tumor samples each year. This data informs care teams how a patient’s cancer might progress and the most effective treatment options. Fewer side effects, better outcomes, more clinical trial opportunities, and, in some, cases sparing patients from unnecessary treatments. These are all benefits our BMO Ride community are making possible with this BMO Ride funded technology.

Pictured: The Illumina NextSeq 2000 system; the genetic sequencing machine that the QEII is now home to.

The QEII’s first endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) technology

The QEII’s first endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) technology, which provides a safer and less-invasive option for diagnosing lung cancer and lymphoma. Before our BMO Ride community stepped up, Nova Scotia was the only province in Canada that didn’t have EBUS technology. Better diagnoses, reduced risk for patients, less pain, faster recovery times and an extra 100 diagnostic procedures performed each year are all benefits our BMO Ride community helped make possible.

Pictured: QEII respirologist, Dr. Simon Houston, pictured with the EBUS technology funded by our BMO Ride community

Additional apheresis machine for the QEII’s Medical Day Unit

Additional apheresis machine for the QEII’s Medical Day Unit. An apheresis machine separates blood components to treat certain blood cancer patients, and also plays a critical role in stem cell transplants; enabling an additional three transplants to occur each week at the QEII thanks to the increased capacity.

Pictured: A patient undergoes apheresis treatment within the QEII’s Medical Day Unit, thanks to the help of our BMO Ride community.

Chemotherapy pumps, chairs & portable monitoring equipment within the QEII’s Medical Day Unit

Chemotherapy pumps, chemotherapy chairs and portable monitoring equipment within the QEII’s Medical Day Unit. Operating seven days a week, the QEII’s Medical Day Unit is one of the busiest outpatient clinics at the QEII as the primary treatment area for blood cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and supportive care. Our BMO Ride community funded these vital care items, improving the treatment experience and overall comfort for cancer patients.

Pictured: A patient receives cancer treatment within the QEII’s Medical Day Unit

Blood cancer research and patient education and support programs

Blood cancer research and patient education and support programs. Our BMO Ride community supported groundbreaking research to help discover new treatments and cures for blood cancer, as well as individualized support programs for cancer patients and their families through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

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