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Cancer is complex since it’s not one but many diseases: there are over 200 different types of cancer. It's also quick and elusive, like a moving target. It can evolve rapidly which makes it difficult to treat.
But thanks to research, we’ve made some amazing progress in recent years. Some types of cancer that historically had poor outcomes now see five-year survival rates surpassing 70, 80 and even 90 %. And advancements keep coming.
But sadly, cancer remains the leading cause of death in the country. Our best weapon to reverse this is research. Which is why, we're committed to research, and only research as we believe it's our best weapon to outsmart cancer.
We support cancer researchers from leading research institutions across the country who aim to outsmart cancer. How exactly do we outsmart cancer? Through better and earlier diagnosis and treatments, as well as by understanding how it comes about in order to help prevent it.
Cancer is a complex disease. Understanding how it originates is critical so that we can better conceive how to prevent, control and cure it.
By figuring out the root causes of cancer, we can also aim to prevent it. The most effective approach to reducing risks of developing cancer is by far through prevention but this area of research remains largely underfunded. Pioneer in the field, the Cancer Research Society has been supporting research in cancer prevention for over 30 years. In 1988, the Cancer Research Society Division of Epidemiology was created at McGill University where its director, Eduardo Franco has been hard at work studying cancer causes, with a focus on Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. Their research has led to proving that cervical cancer could be prevented through the HPV vaccine we know today and has helped to prevent HPV infections and decrease the number of cancer cases worldwide.
Cancer spreads quickly. The earlier we can detect it, the better are the outcomes for patients. But in order to catch cancer sooner, we need the right diagnostic tools and tests. By funding research in this area, our aim is to help improve technologies and methods for quicker, more accurate and less invasive detection.
Currently, biopsies are the most common tests to help detect cancer. But what if there was a better way to diagnose cancer, such as through a simple routine blood test? That’s the kind of innovative research that we are currently funding at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute in Moncton N.B. Dr. Rodney Ouellette has developed a liquid biopsy technology as a quicker, more accurate and less invasive alternative to a traditional biopsy.
Once a person is diagnosed with cancer, time is critical.
There have been important strides made in developing newer treatments in recent years, particularly with regards to targeted or personalized drugs. While surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy remain, researchers have found less invasive and more effective ways to treat cancer. We are currently funding some promising innovations in immunotherapy such as the work being conducted by Robin Parks at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute who is using viruses to attack cancer cells. That’s right, he is exploring how viruses can be unleashed to kill cancer cells as an improved therapeutic option.