conference chair

Dr. Alan So

B.Sc. University of Alberta, 1995
M.D. University of Alberta, 1997
Fellow Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC), 2002
Uro-oncology Fellowship, The Prostate Centre at VGH
University of British Columbia, 2002-2005

Dr. Alan So is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences at the University of British Columbia and Research Scientist at the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital.

A graduate of the University of Alberta, Dr. So came to the Prostate Centre as a Clinical Fellow in 2002, following completion of his residency at Dalhousie University. He worked with Dr. Martin Gleave on the mechanisms of development of hormone resistance, bone metastasis of prostate cancer, and in the development of novel intravesical therapeutics for bladder cancer. During his post-doctoral fellowship he published more than 10 peer-reviewed papers. He is a recipient of many awards, including the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation’s “In It For Life” Clinician Scientist Award, an ASCO “Young Scientist Award”, and a prestigious Michael Smith Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award.

Dr. So’s current research focuses on the study of development of novel therapeutics for bladder cancer and determination of the functional role of GLI1/2 in the progression of prostate cancer to its lethal stage of androgen independence. He has characterized the functional role of different survival genes (including clusterin and Hsp27) in different tumor models (prostate, breast, lung, and bladder) in cancer progression. His current research focuses on discovery and development of novel agents to treat bladder cancer as well as development of the mechanisms of treatment resistance in renal cell carcinoma.

He is active in clinical trials across Canada and is a member of National Cancer Institute of Canada GU Clinical Trials Group and Canadian Uro-Oncology Group. Currently, he leads the Clinical Trials Unit at the Vancouver Prostate Cancer and is the Chair of the Urology Surgical Tumour Group at the BC Cancer Agency.


Francois Bachand, MD FRCPC

Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior

Clinical Associate Professor
Division of Radiation Oncology and Developmental Radiotherapeutics
UBC Department of Surgery

Department Head, Radiation Oncology
Department of Radiation Oncology BC Cancer – Kelowna

Chair, Provincial GYN Radiation Oncology

Supervisor, Clinical Brachytherapy Fellowship

Dr. Peter Black, MD

B.Sc. University of British Columbia
M.D. Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
Urology Residency, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Urologic Oncology Fellowship, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dr. Peter Black trained with one of the premier bladder cancer research groups in the world at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and has now established a research group at the Prostate Centre focused on targeting growth factor receptors in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. His prior work concentrated on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and mechanisms of resistance to EGFR inhibition in pre-clinical models of bladder cancer. This work led to identification of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition as a key predictor of response to EGFR inhibition – and the fact that modulation of E-cadherin expression markedly affects response. Further studies also revealed close correlations between EGFR response and expression of both human EGF receptor 4 (HER4) and platelet derived growth factor receptor-ß (PDGFR-ß). Dual inhibition of PDGFR-ß and EGFR, for example, was effective in inhibiting growth of cell lines that were resistant to EGFR inhibition alone.

The continuation of this work on growth factor receptors has now shifted to NOTCH signaling. Preliminary gene expression profiling data points to the dysregulation of the NOTCH pathway as a relevant biologic mechanism in bladder cancer. NOTCH has well described roles in other cancers, including T-ALL and breast cancer. Dr. Black’s group is currently conducting a detailed characterization of the pathway in bladder cancer and will move forward with specific targeting of relevant mediators in the pathway. They expect that targeting the NOTCH pathway will modulate E-cadherin expression and enhance response to EGFR inhibitors and other agents.

Another component of Dr. Black’s research focus is fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). FGFR3 is mutated in up to 80% of low-grade and non-invasive bladder cancers. While at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Black performed in vitro characterization of the FGFR3 pathway and also analyzed the mutation rate (by sequencing) and expression (by immunohistochemistry) of FGFR3 in patient tumours. He is now testing in collaboration with Colin Dinney, M.D. at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center specific FGFR3 inhibitors in human orthotopic xenografts using both established cell lines and novel primary xenografts. We anticipate that this work will lead to a clinical trial involving one or more of these compounds in patients with bladder cancer.

In addition to this work, Dr. Black is involved with collaborative projects within the Prostate Centre and the wider UBC research community. He is working with Hongshen Ma, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering on a novel microfluidic device to isolate circulating tumour cells in prostate and bladder cancer. He is working with Elai Davicioni, Ph.D. and GenomeDx Biosciences to develop gene expression signatures for use as biomarkers in bladder cancer.

Dr. Kim Chi

M.D. University of Ottawa, 1993
Fellow, Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada (Internal Medicine), 1997
Fellowship, Medical Oncology, BCCA, 1998
Fellowship, CAMO/GlaxoWellcome Research Oncology, BCCA, 1999

Dr. Chi is a medical oncologist with the BC Cancer Agency who, at a relatively early stage in his career, has received national and international recognition for his contributions to prostate cancer research. Dr. Chi’s research is focused in the area of genitourinary cancers with a special interest in prostate cancer and investigational new drugs.  This includes phase I, II and III clinical trials, therapeutic use of antisense oligonucleotides and mechanisms of treatment resistance. He holds peer reviewed grant funding from the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), The U.S. Department of Defense, and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada. Nationally, he has led a number of multi-centre phase I and II clinical trials, and is a co-chair on an NCIC-Clinical Trials Group phase III trial evaluating neoadjuvant docetaxel and hormone therapy prior to radiation therapy for patients with localized, high-risk prostate cancer. Internationally, he has contributed to numerous trials, and is a co-chair on a multi-centre, multi-national phase III trial evaluating DN101 (a high dose formulation of calcitriol) in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer.

Dr. Chi is the medical director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the BC Cancer Agency – Vancouver Centre, which provides access for patients to the latest in investigational new drugs through phase I, II and III clinical studies. This is the largest cancer clinical trials unit in British Columbia and directly employs 30 full time staff. Under his guidance, the not-for-profit Clinical Trials Unit has been able to almost double patient accrual to trials, becoming a self-sustaining growth operation with revenues projected at over $3.3 million for fiscal year 2007-2008.

An Assistant Professor with the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Chi was appointed Chair of the Genitourinary  Systemic Group at the BC Cancer Agency in 2003. This group is responsible for developing systemic treatment management guidelines for patients with genitourinary cancers in the province of British Columbia (available at and securing access to new therapies through the province’s health care system.

Dr. Chi is an Executive Committee Member of the Genitourinary Disease Site for the National Cancer Institute – Clinical Trials Group (NCIC-CTG)/Canadian Uro-Onology Group (CUOG), and the Chair of the sub-site Advanced Prostate group. This committee and group are responsible for developing, undertaking, organizing and coordinating the genitourinary and prostate cancer trials respectively undertaken by investigators at a national cooperative group level.  Dr. Chi is also an Executive Committee Member of the Investigational New Drug Site for the NCIC-CTG which is responsible for developing, undertaking, organizing and coordinating early phase trials across the NCIC-CTG disease sites.

Dr. Martin Gleave, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Martin Gleave is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Urologic Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Director of the Vancouver Prostate Center and a British Columbia Leadership Chair.

He has published 420 papers with over 22,000 citations, has an H-Index of 82, and received more than $80M in research funding.

Dr. Gleave’s research characterizes molecular mechanisms mediating treatment resistance in cancer, focusing on adaptive survival responses that drive acquired treatment resistance, and designing rational combination co-targeting strategies to create conditional lethality and improve cancer control.

He patented several anti-cancer drugs and in 2001 founded OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals to develop OGX-011, an inhibitor of the cell survival gene, clusterin, that potentiates anti-cancer therapies in many cancer models.

A randomized trial demonstrated a seven-month gain in overall survival when OGX-011 was combined with docetaxel, and two Phase III registration trials with OGX-011 are open.

He also discovered OGX-427, another drug targeting Hsp27 that has demonstrated single agent activity in Phase II studies of castrate resistant prostate cancer and bladder cancer.

Dr. Gleave is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Aubrey Tingle Prize from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research; the NCIC William Rawls Award for contributions to cancer control in Canada; the Barringer Medal from the American Association of GU Surgeons and the Eugene Fuller Award from the American Urological Association in 2013.

He was appointed a Distinguished University Scholar at UBC in 2003 and awarded a BC Leadership Chair in 2005.

Dr. Gleave was awarded the 2006 BC Biotech Award for Innovation and Achievement and the 2007 BC Innovation Council Frontiers in Research Award.

Dr. Christian Kollmannsberger, MD, FRCPC

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
Div. of Medical Oncology
University of British Columbia
BCCA Vancouver Cancer Centre

Dr. Kollmannsberger has been a staff Medical Oncologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) Vancouver Cancer Centre since February 2004 and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia since January of 2006. Dr. Kollmannsberger graduated from the Technical University in Munich, Germany and received his clinical training in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology mainly at the University of Tuebingen, Germany.

Dr. Kollmannsberger’s research is focused on genitourinary malignancies with a special interest in testicular and renal cell cancer as well as gastrointestinal cancers, in particular upper GI malignancies. This includes phase I, II and III clinical trials, the development of new therapeutic options and investigation of mechanisms of treatment resistance. Nationally and internationally, he has contributed to numerous trials in the field.

Dr. Kollmannsberger’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals that include the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Annals of Oncology, European Journal of Cancer, Cancer and British Journal of Cancer amongst others. He has served on faculty for international conferences such as the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, the Annual Meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on “Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics” and served as a member of the organizing committee for the Canadian Kidney Cancer Forum.

Dr. Kollmannsberger currently serves as the chair of the BCCA Genitourinary Cancers Systemic
Therapy Group, the co-chair for the Genitourinary and Phase I Clinical Trials Unit at the BC Cancer Agency – Vancouver Centre as well as the Chair for the National Cancer Institute of Canada Testis Cancer Disease Oriented Group and the Cop-Chair for the National Cancer Institute of Canada Esophageal and Gastric Cancer Disease Oriented Group.