Province invests $5 million in prostate centre

B.C. Ministry of Health news release | March 19, 2012

B.C. men are to benefit from a $5-million provincial grant to the Vancouver Prostate Centre, a University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital Centre of Excellence and world leader in research and treatment of prostate cancer.

“We need to ensure B.C. remains at the forefront in diagnosing, treating and managing prostate cancer,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong. “Being able to recruit the best scientific minds to this province will help us to find the most effective ways to manage this disease.”

Prostate cancer is the third-leading cause of male cancer death after lung cancer and colorectal cancer and is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Canadian men. It is estimated that in 2012, about 3,574 British Columbian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 541 men will die from it.

“This grant will be used to further prostate cancer research towards new treatments that control progression of the disease,” said Dr. Martin Gleave, Director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH and Distinguished Professor, Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC, and Liber Ero BC Leadership Chair in Prostate Cancer Research. “These funds will allow us to recruit and retain world leading scientists who will discover how cancer cells develop resistance and evade current treatments, and pave the way to new treatments in the future.”

Dr. Larry Goldenberg

“We are extremely appreciative of this support from our provincial government,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, Founding Director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH, and Head, Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC and VGH. “This commitment demonstrates that understanding and controlling this disease is an important priority. By advancing and sustaining our research here at home, we are ensuring that important patient gains in prevention, diagnosis, screening, treatment and survivorship are made available to British Columbians and that British Columbians receive them first.”

“I am living proof that excellence in cancer treatment and research matters,” said prostate cancer survivor Don Konantz, founder of Colorworks. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in every province and territory, and my own diagnosis with cancer has had a significant impact on my life and my family. The $5-million funding announced today from the Province will help go towards finding a cure for me and for the thousands of fathers, brothers, grandfathers and sons afflicted in British Columbia.”

A national centre of excellence, the Vancouver Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital is a collaborative initiative of Vancouver Coastal Health under the umbrella of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the University of British Columbia. It is unique in that it includes a clinic, a health-education centre for prostate cancer patients and their families and a research facility.

Researchers at the Prostate Centre hold cross-faculty appointments at UBC Faculty of Medicine and collaborate with clinical and research groups nationally and internationally. The Vancouver Prostate Centre provides education for numerous trainees, including the following: 15 post-doctoral fellows, two clinical fellows, 15 urology residents, 20 graduate students and seven summer students.

The Vancouver Prostate Centre also generates economic opportunities for the province through domestic and internationally collaborative activities, the attraction of research investment to B.C., the positive tax impact of its activities, and the intellectual property benefits for any technology and processes developed here.