Translational Research

Translational Research

Translational research transforms scientific discoveries arising from fundamental studies into clinical applications to improve outcomes for patients with prostate cancer. Members of this team work together to employ innovative new technologies for biomarker discovery, detection and quantification that have been developed independently in internationally-recognized efforts in Alberta and bring them to bear on a common goal – developing better tests for prostate cancer.

The combination of prognostic biomarkers from distinct aspects of prostate cancer progression resulted in a test that is more sensitive, more accurate and more cost effective than current tests for prostate cancer.

Our overall goal is to improve patient outcomes and quality of life by translating novel tests to the clinic that are more sensitive, more accurate and more cost-effective than current tests for prostate cancer. No one dies from prostate cancer that is localized to the prostate – the spread, or metastasis, of prostate cancer is what makes it so dangerous. The five year survival rate for localized prostate cancer in North America is close to 100%, yet this drops to 30% for metastatic disease. The metastasis of prostate cancer is driven primarily by changes in growth factors, extracellular proteases, and the cell migration machinery. Biomarkers that are involved in these processes are prognostic for metastatic prostate cancer and their integration into a single powerful test are the focus of this multi-disciplinary team.

Our team is integrating internationally-recognized efforts in the characterization of tumour cell migration, growth factor signaling and protease-activated receptors to develop novel multiplex tests to more accurately predict outcomes in prostate cancer.

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Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Lian Willetts shines light on the frontiers of discovery

Dr. Lian Willetts was awarded 2nd place in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin representing Dr. John Lewis’ lab by presenting: “Breaking the Walls of Prostate Cancer Metastasis”

Lab Falling Walls is an international competition that challenges graduate students to showcase how their research is redefining their respective fields and breaking down the walls to the next major scientific breakthrough. The University of Alberta is one of 20 approved international events, and the Sept. 30 event saw 16 outstanding examples of graduate research. Dr. Willetts was awarded 1st place during this night.

International Labs and the Finale in Berlin

Falling Walls Lab is a global scale event that takes place in different vibrant cities around the world throughout the year. The Falling Walls Lab Finale is held each year in Berlin on 8 November. The Finale gathers 100 participants, among them all winners of the international Labs.

- Catalina Vasquez