The Stone Centre’s Patient Engagement Event Recap

The Stone Centre’s third annual patient engagement night – Kidney Stones: The Latest on Prevention, Treatment and Research was another successful educational event! The goal of our event was to pass on information to the kidney stone patient community through educational talks and presentations from the Stone Centre’s urologists, researchers and dietitians.

The night began with a presentation from Dr. Ben Chew regarding metabolic syndrome and kidney stones. Dr. Chew then discussed the various dietary oimg_3211ptions that have been clinically proven to reduce the risk of stone disease.

This presentation was followed by talks from dietitians Judith Andrews and Lynn Tomita. They continued with the theme of dietary advice and went into thorough recommendations for fluids, sodium, fruit and vegetables, protein oxalate and calcium. img_3249

Dr. Chew and the dietitians then had an engaging back and forth discussion regarding some of the finer points of dietary oxalate recommendations.


Dr. Dirk Lange, the director of basic science research at the Stone Centre, was the final presenter for the night. He went over the ongoing and future research that is being conducted by the Stone Centre laboratory team.  img_3266

This event was made possible through contributions from many different people and organizations.

We would like to thank the Stone Centre laboratory research team for their outstanding efforts in research as well as for their help in setting up the event. If you saw them at the event, the lab team was busy answering your questions regarding research and stone prevention!img_3277

We would also like to thank the VGH Foundation; specifically Joey Cheung, Tim Staunton and Nathania Lo for their help in organizing and setting up the event. img_3228

A big thank you to the Stone Centre Advisory Group – who volunteered their time to ensure that we were answering questions and covering content that is relevant to patient needs. Their contributions played a huge part in the success of the night event.

Also, thank you to our charitable sponsors for providing food, refreshments and prizes!img_3222

Choices Market

Nesters Market

Kin’s Farm Market

Save on Foods

Happy Water

Cafe Ami

Vancouver Water Adventures

Davids Tea

Village VQA Wines

VCHRI Newsletter on our Preoperative Antibiotics Study

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) is an organization of researchers that represent a multitude of health disciplines, research backgrounds and clinical occupations.


VHCRI supports and helps the Stone Centre research team move forward with our research. Recently, they have published a newsletter regarding our Preoperative Antibiotics Study. To view this article click here.

To learn more about the research going on at Vancouver General Hospital and how to participate you can visit or click here.



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





Congratulations to Joey Lo – the stone centre’s very own – for completing her masters!

Image-1 3
Dr. Chew, Joey, and Dr. Lange

Joey Lo has been with the Stone Centre for several years, initially as a co-op student and then later as a M.Sc. candidate. She has worked closely with Dr. Lange and Dr. Chew to complete her graduate degree under the UBC Experimental Medicine Program.  Her main research focuses on the use of antimicrobial coatings on urinary catheters to prevent bacterial attachment and subsequent infections, a project done in collaboration with several specialized laboratories at UBC located under the departments of Pathology,  Chemistry, and Materials Engineering.

Joey has been an integral part of the research team both as a student and now as a research assistant. The Stone Centre Team wants to extend its most sincere congratulations to Joey for finishing her M.Sc. degree and wishes her success in her future endeavors!





Dr. Dirk Lange Receives Prestigious CIHR New Investigator Award

The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) presented this highly competitive award to Dr. Lange in recognition of the translational research program he has developed, focusing on The Development of Novel Therapeutic and Preventative Strategies for Kidney Stone Disease. This award will allow Dr. Lange and his research team to continue diligently working on their novel research towards improving the treatment and prevention of kidney stone disease.

Novelty of Research Program: Currently, no basic science or translational research program dedicated to developing novel treatment/preventative options for kidney stone disease (KSD) exists across the country, making the research program at The Stone Centre at VGH the first of its kind in Canada. The novelty of Dr. Lange’s independent research program is further illustrated by the approach taken to develop innovative treatment/preventative strategies for KSD. To date, the majority of research in this area is driven by clinicians and focuses on improving surgical interventions or diagnostic tools in an attempt to decrease the incidence of KSD. While some progress has been made in improving these aspects, the incidence continues to climb. This is mostly due to the fact that current approaches do not address specific mechanisms associated with the failure of treatment and preventative strategies.

Dr. Dirk Lange
Dr. Dirk Lange

Dr. Lange deems that a paradigm shift in research is required to generate innovative and efficacious treatment/preventative options. As such, his research program focuses on identifying and targeting specific molecular mechanisms that have remained unconsidered. Specifically he is focusing on improving the functionality of ureteral stents, which are the most abundantly used treatment to maintain some urine flow in the presence of an obstructing stone, or following surgical intervention to remove the obstructing stone while the ureter heals. Currently, ureteral stents are associated with significant complications in at least 80% of stented patients including infection, encrustation and discomfort associated with the fact that overall ureteral function is significantly impaired with a stent in place and minimal urine flow occurs due to gravity and pressure changes in the filling bladder. The end result is residual pressure buildup and expansion of the kidney. In this context, Dr. Lange’s independent research program studies molecular mechanisms that drive ureteral dysfunction associated with obstruction and indwelling ureteral stents and focuses on the development of novel stent coatings to prevent device-associated infection and encrustation. In addition, he is studying mechanisms that drive recurrent KSD in an attempt to develop novel therapies to prevent disease recurrence. In this context, he is studying the role of the intestinal microbiome in recurrent KSD as dietary oxalate is a major source of oxalate in the body.

We would like to give a special thank you to the members of the Stone Centre Advisory Group for their support and guidance in our 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!

Congrats Dr. Lange!

Dr. Dirk Lange
Dr. Dirk Lange

Dr. Lange was featured in an article “The art of standing out amongst your peers” from the Schulich Medicine and Dentistry at Western University:

When Dirk Lange, PhD’08, was just about to graduate from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, he recalls speaking to a visiting professor about how to move forward and find great success in his career. The professor encouraged him to find a niche area in research that he could become the leading expert in.

Eight years later, Lange is the Director of his own basic science research program in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Urological Sciences, and has been recognized as one of the biggest up-and-coming researchers in the field of urology. We sat down with Lange to discuss his current role, and whether or not he would pass along the same advice he once received to current trainees in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

For full article click here.


The Christmas Craft Fair Recap

The Stone Centre’s first ever Christmas Craft Fair was a huge success, with around 300 guests that attended the event we managed to surpass our goal for funds raised for research! Most importantly we raised awareness about kidney stone disease. This is a prominent and painful disease that affects up to 10% of the Canadian population and can lead to hospitalization, lost time at work, surgery, and even death with complications. The Stone Centre team seeks to improve the lives of its patients through research that is focused on kidney stone treatment and prevention.

An event like this is only made possible by those who have donated their time, talents, and services. As such we would like to thank these individuals, as well as everyone that supported our craft fair.

A big thank you to: our patients, colleagues, vendors, volunteers, friends, and families- without you this Christmas fair would not have been possible!!!

A big thank you to our sponsors: David’s tea, Purdy’s Chocolate, Safeway, Broadway International Wine shop, Cobs Bread, and Juillet Spa & Wedding. Without our kind sponsors and their donations we would not have been able to reach our goal for this fundraiser.




A special thanks to UBC Robson Square and Daniela Stockfleth-Menis (events manager), for allowing us to use their gallery room and for their immense help and support.

Silent Auction Winners!

Purdy’s Chocolate Gift Basket

Davids Tea Gift Package #1

Davids Tea Gift Package #2

Broadway International Wine Shop Gift Card

Ring from Ole Jewelry Designs

2 Canucks Tickets!

Julliet Spa & Wedding Gift Card #1

Julliet Spa & Wedding Gift Card #2


DSC_2615DSC_2639DSC_2616 DSC_2626 DSC_2638 DSC_2654From everyone here at the Stone Centre team, we wish you Happy Holidays!