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October 27, 2017 11:18 pm

Innovative Health Care Program to Benefit Northerners

Monday, April 18, 2016 @ 11:49 AM
Photos 250News

Photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – A new cutting edge health program aimed at delivering personalized and targeted treatments for Northerners was announced at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) this morning.

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond (who stood in for Health Minister Terry Lake) said the Northern Biobank Initiative Phase 2 is the first of its kind in the province.

“What it means is that B.C.’s northern population can benefit more than ever from participating in clinical research,” she said. “Including health information and samples from northern residents in the biobank will help to close gaps in information on health and genetics of the unique populations of the North.”

PG-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond and cancer survivor Josie Pasowicz

PG-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond and cancer survivor Josie Pasowicz

A biobank is a collection of biological samples, such as blood and tissue. These samples, along with associated health information, are collected with donor consent under strict ethical guidelines.

Bond says the biobank will be critical to understanding the unique and specific health characteristics in rural and aboriginal communities.

She added the biobank will have “an additional focus on certain types of cancers, such as colorectal, breast and thyroid cancer.”

“This project means that families here will eventually have access to increased prevention, faster diagnoses and treatment distinct to their community. It also means that anything we learn from the biobank here will help inform the research community provincially and nationally.”

The $1.25 million 24 month project is part of Genome BC’s User Partner Program and funded equally ($250,000 each) by Genome BC, Northern Health, the First Nations Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority and the BC Cancer Foundation.

It will be led by Dr. Nadine Caron, associate professor, UBC department of surgery, and affiliate UNBC faculty member with the northern medical program.

“Having a local biobank means that people of the North can keep pace with and benefit from the rapid advances being made in precision medicine.”

Josie Pasowicz of Prince George was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and was also on hand to lend her support for the project.

In an emotional speech, she said receiving cancer treatment in the North has been a great boost during her health care battle.

“Today’s announcement is about investing and bringing the best health care possible close to home.

“I feel very lucky to have a cancer clinic here in Prince George. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I can’t imagine having to travel out of town adding more stress that you don’t need.”


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