Dr. Lallous appointed Senior Research Scientist, featured in VCH News

Date Posted: 
2019-11-19
Dr. Lallous

Dr. Nada Lallous has been appointed Senior Research Scientist at our Centre. She discusses the role of our Centre's new protein bioengineering core (enabled in part by CFI and BC-KDF funding) in the latest VCH News. The full article, "Taking Complex Prostate Cancer Research To The Next Level", is available here; the full text is below.

November 15, 2019 - A new research core will help scientists tackle some of the most complex prostate cancers.

One in seven Canadian men will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer at some point during their lifetimes. A protein bioengineering core of specialists and equipment being established at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) could open the door to new treatment avenues for men with the deadliest forms of the disease. 

“We are expanding our bench-to-bedside research pipeline,” says Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher, Dr. Nada Lallous. “We will be working with challenging cancers at the new protein bioengineering core, particularly ones that have not previously been investigated, in order to find new cancer treatments.” 

Lallous will work in collaboration with research teams at VPC and UBC to establish the core and advance the research program.  

“Our new protein bioengineering core will increase the throughput and accuracy of our drug discovery research pipeline,” explains Lallous. “The VPC genomics group identifies important prostate cancer drivers and our experts in the computer-aided drug design group will then find molecules predicted to eliminate their function. The new core will express and purify those drivers and then validate their specificity. Molecules that show the greatest potential are then sent to UBC for structural analysis”.  

“This helps the VPC team create the most effective molecule, which could then go on to clinical trials, and eventually become treatments for patients.”

Lallous’s background prepared her for the collaboration and cross-departmental work she is doing to establish the core. Originally from Lebanon, she pursued her master’s and PhD studies in structural biochemistry and biophysics in Strasbourg, France, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, Spain.

Arriving at VPC in 2012, she jumped straight into research projects designed to find novel therapies for treatment-resistant prostate cancers. This work put her in touch with several different research teams at VPC and UBC, and propelled her into her current initiative: establishing the protein bioengineering core.

PROTEIN BIOENGINEERING CORE COULD LEAD TO GREATER OVERSIGHT AND EFFICIENCY

Tests scheduled to be completed at the new core are currently outsourced at a hefty price. Doing the same work in-house at VPC would be more cost-effective, notes Lallous, and would also give researchers more flexibility and oversight to validate and optimize their work.

“To prove that a treatment works, we often need to validate its action from multiple angles. The new core will give us more options to do that.” 

“This is really advantageous for our work, as it gives us more flexibility and greater confirmation about the potential effectiveness of a treatment before pursuing additional studies,” adds Lallous. 

The new core is being developed as part of The Accelerated Drug Discovery Using Clinical Translation research program. Many of the larger ticket items VPC needs for the core will be covered by grant money funded by a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant and a BC Knowledge Development Fund grant. However, more community support is needed to fund the best and brightest minds, and to purchase the materials necessary to run the experiments that will take place at the core. 

“Prostate cancer touches so many people,” says Lallous, who still manages to find time between her busy work schedule and raising two young children with her husband to participate in fundraisers, such as bake sales, to raise money for prostate cancer research.

“It could be my father, my brother, my husband. That is why it is so important to keep investing in research.”

You can support research at VPC through the Prost8 Lager fundraiser, which is sponsored by craft brewing companies across British Columbia. One hundred per cent of the money raised will go to the VPC.

A World Class Centre

The Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) has a track record of success that has earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most respected cancer facilities. It is a National Centre of Excellence and a designated Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.

Events

Rock4Prostate

Rock4Prostate fundraiser - Friday Nov 8, 2019

The 2nd annual Rock4Prostate event takes place Friday Nov 8 at the Backstage Lounge Pub on Granville Island.  Tickets available at Eventbrite and at the door ($20 or $10 for students 19+), with proceeds going to Prostate Cancer Canada.  Please visit the Facebook event page for more details

VPC Movember 2013 team

Movember fundraiser: Nov. 1 - 30, 2019

Movember is an international charity raising funds for men's health initiatives. Movember Canada focuses on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Please visit moteam.co/the-vancouver-prostate-centre to join or donate to our Centre's Movember fundraising team.

Employment

Work at the Vancouver Prostate Centre

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Dr. Jefferies elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Dr. Jefferies
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dr. Lallous appointed Senior Research Scientist, featured in VCH News

Dr. Lallous