Developing a Sensitive and Quantitative Opioid Detector for Use in a Clinical Setting

The opioid epidemic is a serious health crisis in Canada, North America, and globally and has worsened during the COVID pandemic. Opioid treatment strategies are at the forefront of efforts to tackle this crisis. To improve the replacement therapy currently used, an estimate of tolerance is required. This proposal takes an existing proof-of-concept opioid detection device and adapts it for use in the clinical setting to address this challenge.

Developing a machine learning-based diagnostic strategy to detect early onset of double negative prostate cancer by integrating SEMA3C-associated genomic variations and blood biopsies

The main goal of this research project is to study if a protein named SEMA3C can be a biomarker for early detection of an aggressive and lethal form of prostate cancer, named Double Negative Prostate Cancer (DNPC). To test if SEMA3C is a contributing factor in the progression of DNPC, we will compare SEMA3C level in tissues from patient and healthy individuals. Then, we will study if SEMA3C level changes in parallel to genetic variations, happening in tumors with cancer growth.

Technology Innovations to Improve Patient Outcomes After Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in severe paralysis, for which there are no effective treatments. Advanced technologies, however, can play an important role in assisting in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of SCI patients who suffer many impairments beyond the loss of voluntary muscle control. In this proposal, we will develop and apply innovative technologies for SCI. We will develop a novel biosensor for the injured cord to inform doctors how to best support its healing in the early stages of injury.

Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea a Novel Risk Factor for Cancer?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is an important disease characterized by recurrent blockages of the upper airway during sleep leading to breathing cessations (up to 100 times per hour); OSA is common and is widely under-diagnosed. OSA might cause cancer or lead to cancer progression, potentially mediated through low oxygen levels; however, evidence for this association is limited. This research study will use rigorous methods to determine if there is a potential link between OSA and cancer; specifically, we will link our large database of approximately 1800 patients with suspected OSA.

Targeting granzyme B with a novel inhibitor for the treatment of radiodermatitis

Radiodermatitis is a group of skin reactions that occur as a result of radiation therapy. It is a significant health challenge as approximately 70% of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy and approximately 95% of them experience radiodermatitis. Patients with radiodermatitis experience redness, itchiness, pain, scaling, and weeping or crusted wounds. Importantly, radiodermatitis can impede cancer treatments. Current treatments for radiodermatitis have shown limited efficacy; thus, improving our understanding of radiodermatitis and developing novel therapies are urgent needs.

Label-free Multiphoton Microscopy Imaging for Guiding the Surgery of Skin Basal Cell Carcinomas

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer type. Although it can be surgically removed, to confirm the clean removal by histology is time-consuming, which complicates the treatment and results in many incomplete removals. We propose to develop a special microscopy imaging platform that can image the skin tissue directly without sectioning and staining. This will enable detection of residual tumor cells by examining the excised fresh tissue samples on site during the surgery, providing immediate guidance for improving the treatment procedures.

Endoscopic Laser Raman Spectroscopy for Colorectal Cancer Detection in IBD Patients

Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) affects over 200,000 Canadians. Individuals with IBD have significantly greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, the screening for colorectal cancer that is currently provided to the general population is inadequate for this group. White light colonoscopy is currently the gold standard but is challenging, as lesions are sometimes difficult to identify. Thus, random biopsies, in addition to targeted biopsies of abnormalities visualized by white light, are often performed.

A novel multi-echo MRI technique for prostate cancer detection and grading

We propose to develop a novel, clinically relevant MRI based technique for prostate cancer detection. We also propose to develop a novel reporting system that would be more accurate and easier to use by the radiologists. The new technique will be first developed on a research MRI scanner at UBC, and subsequently implemented on the clinical MRI scanner at VGH. The main benefit to the hospital will be a new, improved MRI technique for prostate cancer detection and grading.

Development of a Quantitative and Inexpensive Opioid Detector for Clinical Use

The opioid epidemic is a serious health crisis and opioid treatment strategies are at the forefront of efforts to tackle this crisis. Replacement therapy is the current approach taken using medications such as methadone. To be more effective, the dosage needs to be tailored to individual tolerance which requires a point-of-care type analytical measurement of the patient's existing opioid level.

Leveraging lessons learned from the front lines to inform policy and practice in hospital and community healthcare settings in the context of COVID-19

Among the many significant effects of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Vancouver General Hospital’s (VGH) Department of Psychiatry has observed the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of patients and providers. These circumstances have created unprecedented demand for decisive and rapid action to avert hospital admissions related to mental health, maximize efficiency within hospitals in the context of physical distancing requirements, and improve wrap around care in partnership with community-based psychiatrists and family physicians.