The translational research program in kidney stone disease at VGH’s Stone Centre is getting a $2 million philanthropic boost from Bob and Trish Saunders.

Led by Dr. Ben Chew and Dirk Lange (PhD), this program is the only one of its kind in Canada and one of only a handful of similar centres in the world dedicated to cutting edge research to revolutionize care for the 1 in 10 people who experience kidney stone disease in their lifetime.

The Stone Centre places basic scientists and clinicians side-by-side to ensure that research results from the laboratory are brought to the bedside to improve patient care. In only a short period of time, this centre has gained global recognition, being highly sought after by medical companies, world class trainees aiming to become clinician scientists and a destination for pre-clinical and first-in-human studies for new treatment options. This enables BC patients to be among the first to benefit from promising cutting-edge treatment and preventative options through the expertise available at the Stone Centre.

Dr. Ben Chew and Dirk Lange run the Stone Centre program at VGH

Two recent innovations, developed at the Stone Centre, aim to reduce health care costs and improve patient care:

Biodegradable urinal stents: This type of stent dissolves over time and can reduce complications and follow-up procedures

Breakwave: This new type of ultrasonic energy breaks up kidney stones with non-invasive treatments. If successful, physicians could use a handheld probe to treat kidney stones in a doctors office or Emergency Department, avoiding surgery and the pain of passing them all together.

This generous donation invests in both people and infrastructure instrumental in helping to maintain the Stone Centre at VGH as one of the world leaders in the fight against debilitating kidney stone disease. From new microscopes to cutting-edge technology, philanthropy serves as an investment in the future of kidney health. Philanthropic support is instrumental in ensuring that the highly unique translational expertise of this top-notch duo is maintained right here in BC.

Bob Saunders was inspired to donate following the incredible care provided by Dr. Chew at the Stone Centre.

“Dr. Chew’s care is excellent and he is a compassionate doctor who empathizes with his patients. He and his team have been nothing short of outstanding. We are delighted to honour Dr. Chew and to support vital research under his direction at the Stone Centre,” says Bob.

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is tremendously grateful for this vital gift, which will save and improve the lives of patients not only across BC, but around the world.

Bob and Trish Saunders

Philanthropists Bob and Trish Saunders