Category Archives: News

5th Annual Patient Engagement Night

Executive Summary

On October 23, 2018, the Stone Centre held its fifth annual patient education night at the Paetzold Health Education Centre at Vancouver General Hospital.  Approximately 100 people attended the event, which featured educational talks, research engagement, and general diet counselling. The audience was composed of past and current patients engaged in care at the Stone Centre, family members, friends, and community guests. Victor Wong and Reza Ardekani, Research Assistant and Associate at the Stone Centre, planned the event and recruited an interdisciplinary healthcare team consisting of dietitians, researchers, and urologists.

This evening event was the fifth of its kind to be hosted by the Stone Centre. The educational talks focused on kidney treatments such as ESWL, PCNL and URS, ongoing and future research with respect to kidney stones, as well as an open question and answer period to conclude the night. Participants were then given an opportunity to mingle with each other and with healthcare providers to ask any further questions. Research posters and various kidney stone information and diet packages were also showcased to enhance the experience for participants. The event was well received and generated interest for future events.


The Stone Centre consists of two streams, the Acute Stone Centre and the Research Centre. The Acute Stone Centre at Vancouver General Hospital offers three kidney stone treatment procedures, which are Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy, Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy, and Ureteroscopy. The Research Centre is composed of translational and clinical research, with a mission to improve the treatment of patients with kidney stones and furthering the understanding of the basic mechanisms of a kidney stone to prevent stone formation in the future. Part of the goals of the Stone Centre and the Urology Department is to support and strengthen the pillars of UBC’s vision, people, learning, community service, research, and internalization. Hosting a community education and engagement event is in line with the Stone Centre’s mission and goals. This event was created to enhance patient understanding of kidney stones and provide patients with the tools to take agency over their own health.

Target Audience

The audience for this event recruited from the Stone Centre either has or has had a kidney stone. Some audience members have never had kidney stones but are caregivers or supporters of those who have had them. Other audience members were community members or staff of Vancouver Coastal Health. The target audiences pertain to anyone who was willing to learn about kidney stone treatment and research, particularly those who have had kidney stone disease and are aiming to improve their health, prevent reoccurring stones, and participate in clinical research.

Talks and Discussions

Dr. Ben Chew and Dr.Paterson started the night by discussing the three main treatments for kidney stone disease, ESWL, URS and PCNL. The presentations featured easily accessible videos and aimed to educate patients on the different options available when they have stones.

Following these talks, Dr. Dirk Lange, the Stone Centre Science Research Director then gave a talk on the cutting edge research at the Stone Centre. Dr. Lange described the Stone Centre’s method of translational research where medical doctors and science researchers work side by side to study stone disease from different angles. This unique bench-top to beside research allows for a faster improvement in patient treatment. Dr. Lange described the current research projects from the clinical side of the stone centre including antibiotics and survey studies. Following Dr. Lange’s presentation, Dr. Chew answered the remaining questions that were sent in by patients.

Dieticians Lynn Tomita and Judith Andrews concluded the event on a high note by discussing practical dietary tips to combat stone formation. They went over the known causes of stone formation and what foods they related to, as well as foods that reduce the chance of stone formation entirely.

Meet and Greet 

After the presentations and talks were concluded, all the guests and speakers from the event mingled outside the auditorium where snacks and light refreshments were provided. There was a booth for clinical research for the Stone Centre, one booth for the UBC and VGH Hospital Foundation, and a booth for the dieticians so that they could answer any questions that guests may have had regarding prevention. However, no studies were actively advertised at the research table in order to prevent enrolling patients who are not seriously committed to completing studies.

CANCELLED: Join us for the 6th Annual Patient Engagement Night – February 4th, 2020

“What to Eat and How to Avoid Stones”

The Stone Centre at VGH presents

The 6th Annual Patient Engagement Night.

Come join us for a night of interactive discussion and information session with world renowned experts on kidney stones.

Topics of the night:
  • How do kidney stones affect Quality of life
  • Advancements in kidney stone treatment
  • Life hacks: Practical dietary tips for kidney stone patients
  • Advancement in kidney stone research

Date: Tuesday Feb 4th, 2020

Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

*Registration is from 6:00pm-6:30pm (talks start exactly at 6:30pm so please arrive before then)*

Location: Vancouver General Hospital, Jim Pattison Pavilion, Paetzold Education Centre, 889 W 12 Avenue, Vancouver,  BC  V5Z 1M9

Important Info: There will be dedicated times for questions and also a more engaging interactions with the dietitians in small groups. To help us better prepare for the night please RSVP here.

Light refreshments will be served and guests are absolutely welcome!

Please forward your questions in advance and follow this link to RSVP for this event:



Congratulations Elliya Park for winning the Best Speaker Award at VCHRI’s 2017 Research Medicine Expo!

Elliya’s talk presented at the Vancouver Coast Health Research Institute’s 2017 Research Medicine Expo at Vancouver General Hospital – “Erythropoietin Signalling After Ureteral Obstruction” won Best Speaker Award!

Elliya Park is a master’s student at the Stone Centre Laboratory who work s under the supervision of Dr. Dirk Lange of Urologic Sciences. Her research at the Stone Centre focuses on erythropoietin signalling after ureteral obstruction. This research has many implications in urologic medicine with respect to recovery of the ureter after it is obstructed (in particular by kidney stones).

Congratulations to Elliya!

Elliya and Dr. Laura Sly, the director of experimental medicine program at UBC



The Stone Centre’s 4th Annual Patient Engagement Event: “Shattering Stones – Which Treatment is Best for Me?” was another successful night in what has become a cornerstone event for the Stone Centre team and it’s patients.

The main goal of this year’s event was to educate the general community on kidney stones and in particular the treatments available for kidney stones. By educating patients on the various treatment options, the Stone Centre team wants to promote healthy and knowledgeable decision making with respect to stone disease, as well as to minimize any confusion or misunderstanding about stones. Additionally, the Stone Centre team wants to foster a sense of community between the Urologists, Researchers and Stone Patients so that no patient feels helpless or alone in their fight against kidney stones.

The event is non-profit, and is sponsored by community donors that graciously provide us with the venue, refreshments, snacks, and door prizes. We collaborate with both Vancouver Coastal Health as well as the VGH Foundation many months in advance in order to organize and provide the best event possible for our patients.

This year’s event started with a presentation on the different treatment options that the Stone Centre has to offer as explained by Urologists Dr. Ben Chew and Dr. Ryan Paterson. This presentation also included an interactive discussion with a group of 4 patient panelists that had undergone the different treatments. The patient panelists offered their unique perspectives on the treatments they had experienced, including the factors that influenced them in making their decision. This combination of information presentation and discussion was the first of its kind at this event. The discussion between the Urologists and Patient Panel was  well received and provided guests with both a professional and patient perspective on different treatments as well as the various pros and cons of each treatment. (If you would like to see the animations that were shown during the presentations of each treatment please click HERE to visit our treatment options page.)

Dr. Chew and Dr. Paterson discuss treatment options with the 4 panelists on the right

Following this presentation, Dr. Dirk Lange, the director of Basic Science at the Stone Centre, presented on the various clinical projects that are ongoing at the Stone Centre. This included interesting information on the prevalence and role of antibiotics during stone treatment surgery, in particular for infection stones (struvite) which the Stone Centre is the first to conduct. This presentation also touched on the sensitive topic of antibiotic misuse. One of the goals of the Stone Centre’s research is to determine effective, efficient and appropriate antibiotic regimes to prevent misuse and promote health and well being.  (For more info on any of our antibiotics study, please click HERE to visit our active clinical trials page).

Dr. Lange goes into detail about the Stone Centre’s ongoing projects with treatment and antibiotic therapy


Dr. Paterson, Dr. Chew, Dr. Lange and the patient panelists team up to answer questions from the audience

The presentation portion of the event ended with a question and answer period. Guests were invited to submit questions on slips of paper that were then answered by Dr.’s Chew, Paterson Lange and the patient panel. Raffle prizes were drawn which concluded the formal presentation portion of the event. The last half hour of the event featured a mingling session in the lobby of the Paetzold auditorium with light refreshments and snacks provided. The whole Stone Centre team from both the clinical and laboratory sides were available to answer questions from any of the guests. The Stone Centre’s dietitians – Judith Andrews and Lynn Tomita – were also available to answer the many questions about diet, prevention and stone disease.

Arielle Locke and Elliya Park, Graduate Research Assistants of the the Stone Centre’s Laboratory Team!


If you would like to get involved in the Stone Centre’s ongoing research, or if you would like to get involved with the Stone Centre as a volunteer please visit our CONTACT US page where you get can in touch with us through either email or phone. If you took home a study package at the event and have any questions please  feel free to contact us as well.

The Stone Centre is always looking for ways to improve its quality of care and research. If you would like to contribute an idea, or have feedback regarding the event please send us an email as well.

Thanks and Contributions:

A big thank you to the VGH Foundation for their help in organizing the event, printing materials, social media presence and helping with setup and takedown!

A big thank you to our sponsors this year who provided the snacks, refreshments and raffle draw prizes!

We look forward to seeing you all again at our next event!

Join us for the 3rd Annual Stone Centre Patient Engagement Day

“Kidney Stones: The latest on Prevention, Treatment, & Research”

We invite you to join us for the third annual Stone Centre Patient Engagement Event.

Important Information:

Come join the Stone Centre Team for a night of interesting presentations. Hear from an interdisciplinary care team including a urology doctor, renal dietician, and researcher. They will be discussing kidney stone prevention, healthy diet choices, and ongoing research as well as recent discoveries.

There will be time for questions after the presentations as well as some light refreshments will be served. Guests are absolutely welcome!

Date: Tuesday September 13, 2016

Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

*Registration is from 6:00pm-6:30pm (talks start exactly at 6:30pm so please arrive before then)*

Location: Vancouver General Hospital, Jim Pattison Pavilion, Paetzold Education Centre, 889 W 12 Avenue, Vancouver,  BC   V5Z 1M9

RSVP: please RSVP by contacting the Stone Centre research team or signing up online.

Phone: 604-875-4111 x62421   

To RSVP online: click here

This is a free event that is open to the public. Please see the invitation card displayed below for more information.

SC Patient Engagement Event September 23, 2016

Our distinguished guest speakers:

Judith Andrews
Judith Andrews –                 Renal Dietitian
Dr. Ben Chew
Dr. Ben Chew –                Urologist
Dr. Dirk Lange
Dr. Dirk Lange –                    Director of Basic Science Research





Sullivan Research Day – Presenting the Metagenomics Research Project

Sullivan Research Day was an all day educational program hosted at the Paetzold auditorium at VGH on June 21, 2016. This event featured various lecturers that were invited to talk about their respective research in the field of urology. These lectures included presentations from Doctors, residents, fellows, and students in a variety of topics such as clinical research, cell plasticity and treatment resistance, genomics and bioinformatics, metabolism, and novel diagnostics and therapeutics as they pertain to various cancers.

One of the Stone Centre’s very own students – David Choy – was selected to present his ongoing metagenomics research project at this prestigious event.

Here is a short brief on the presentation…

“The Relationship between Bacterial Enzyme Pathways in the Gut and Metabolic Imbalances in Kidney Stone Patients”

Introduction: In kidney stone disease (KSD), patients suffer from excess absorption/production of oxalate that combines with calcium in the kidney to form calcium oxalate stones. In this study,  we want to find out how the bacteria in the gut microbiome use their metabolic enzymes to regulate oxalate and other metabolites in and across the gut.

Methods: Fecal samples were collected from 17 patients with calcium oxalate kidney stones and their non-stone forming healthy spouses. DNA is extracted from the fecal samples and shotgun-sequence using Illumina HiSeq and the NexteraXT metagenomics library kit. The DNA sequences were then aligned to five gene databases to obtain meaningful annotations. The DNA was also sequence specifically for 16s_rRNA genes to identify the bacteria present.

Results: Metagenomics sequencing results show that patients and controls had different prevalences of genes involved in glyoxylate, butyrate, and vitamin metabolism. These pathways play a role in oxalate and calcium regulation because glyoxylate is a precursor for oxalate in hepatocytes, butyrate promotes the integrity of the colonocyte gut lining and therefore absorption of ions across the gut, and vitamin metabolism regulates calcium absorption respectively. These observations are further supported by 16s_rRNA data that showed controls had a higher prevalence of butyrate-producing bacteria of the Lachnospiriceae and Ruminococcaceae family. Additionally, we found that patients did not have any Oxalobacter formigenes (a well-known oxalate degrading bacteria) in their gut while most controls did.

Conclusions: These results suggest that bacterial enzymes play a role in regulating the absorption, degradation and secretion of oxalate in the gut whether by directly degrading oxalate or by affecting other metabolites. Further study may uncover targets in bacterial enzyme pathways for treatment of metabolic disorders like KSD.

Congratulations David!

For more information on the metagenomics project please visit our ongoing clinical research page!