OUR 2023 CAUSE: ATLANTIC CANADA’S FIRST CAR-T THERAPY LAB
In 2023, our BMO Ride community will fully fund Atlantic Canada’s first-ever CAR-T therapy lab at the QEII Health Sciences Centre; 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.
This year, the name of every 2023 BMO Ride participant will be proudly featured within a larger-than-life wall mural in the QEII Cancer Centre, celebrating the QEII’s new CAR-T therapy lab and the extraordinary impact they’ve made possible.
HOW CAR-T CELL THERAPY WORKS.
CAR-T cell therapy is an immunotherapy or ‘living drug’ that harnesses a patient’s own immune system to detect and destroy the cancer within their body for the rest of their lives; with at least half of all eligible patients being cured.
In Canada, it’s currently available for the treatment of patients living with non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who have not responded to any other treatment options.
The patient’s t-cells are collected from their blood and genetically changed within a lab to become CAR-T cells. These cancer-fighting cells are then multiplied and reinfused into the patient’s body to attack the cancer like never before.
As the region’s first and only CAR-T therapy lab – and one of four in Canada – this will mark the first time that patients’ immune cells can be modified to target their cancer, right here at home.
The current method involves shipping these cells to the United States to be genetically engineered and then shipped back to the QEII, resulting in significant delays and wait times for Atlantic Canadian patients. For these patients, their prognosis is terminal without this treatment – meaning every day matters and that our BMO Ride community will truly save lives.
YOUR IMPACT. LIFE-SAVING BENEFITS.
By supporting Atlantic Canada’s first CAR-T therapy lab, benefits our BMO Ride community will make possible include:
- offering the most personalized and effective treatment option for certain blood cancer patients who otherwise would not survive;
- ensuring faster treatment times for patients by unlocking the ability to modify and produce CAR-T cells in Atlantic Canada for the first time;
- minimizing disruption to families’ lives as the timeframe between collecting a patient’s t-cells and reinfusing them within the patient to fight their cancer is slashed in half, thanks to locally-produced cells;
- more accurate and effective treatment by funding the latest technology available;
- increasing patient access to more clinical trials;
- impacting cancer patients in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador;
- positioning Atlantic Canada’s largest and most specialized cancer centre as a national and global leader in CAR-T therapy and production;
- recruiting and retaining world-leading cancer care experts and much, much more.
Creating Atlantic Canada’s first CAR-T therapy lab is a $2.1-million project that will be entirely funded by our BMO Ride community. This ground-breaking, made-in-Nova-Scotia treatment option would not be a reality without our riders, donors, community partners and more. Be a part of the movement and help bring this life-saving treatment option to the finish line!
$7.9 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:
PERSONALIZED RADIOTHERAPY TECHNOLOGY FOR RADIATION TREATMENTS
In October 2022, the QEII Cancer Centre became home to world-leading personalized radiotherapy technology, called the EthosTM therapy system, that could result in significantly shorter treatment times for radiation patients. The project is still in its early research phase, with the potential to impact and revolutionize the delivery of radiation therapy on a global scale. 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 800 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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