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Every day in labs across Canada, researchers are hard at work to help make important strides against the devastation of cancer.
While they dedicate their careers to this fight, the Society is committed to supporting them with the financial means necessary to make important discoveries and advances in cancer prevention, detection and treatment.
Meet some of our researchers below, or find in our database all the researchers funded since 2012. This database is powered by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
"Cancer is a very complex disease that affects everyone in some way. Basic research is essential to defeat this terrible illness. Unlike other diseases, cancer is caused by combinations of multiple genetic mutations, hence why the challenge is huge. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are currently seen as the best treatments to date, but radiation and chemicals cause damage to normal tissue. There have been few successes with targeted therapies with highly specific inhibitors, and identifying such targets becomes extremely important for developing novel therapeutic strategies.
Our lab focuses on developing such targeted therapies by applying a basic biological concept called synthetic lethality. These research strategies are of high therapeutic relevance because the treatments of the future will most likely be targeted and customized to the genome of the patient and the type of cancer.
Funding from the Cancer Research Society greatly helps us move forward towards this level of personalized medicine."
"The first grant I received came from the Cancer Research Society. Since 2003, the Society awarded me five operating grants. It is evident that this support has been a great help. It is because of the Society’s donors that I was able to build my team of researchers.
Our research on chronic myelogenous leukemia has produced results. We can now identify more quickly whether a patient will respond favourably to conventional treatment or if, for example, we must immediately proceed to a stem cell transplant. Also, our research can improve the treatments that only destroy cancer cells and not healthy cells. Survival rates for chronic myelogenous leukemia have increased from 50% to over 90% within a few years, thanks to new treatments and research. Continuing our research will save more lives."
"Different forms of cancer are driven by different changes to your cells. Finding unique properties in a cancer cell that sets it apart from a normal healthy cell is critical to develop effective therapies with low side effects.
The funding received by the Cancer Research Society has helped me and my team reveal some of the properties driving one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer: glioblastoma multiforme. The mechanism that we have resolved is one that we can make drugs against, and we are making headway in this direction. This funding has also allowed us to develop two very innovative drug screening platforms where we can test actual patient samples for their responsiveness to drugs."
"The spread of cancer cells is the most life-threatening characteristic of cancer. If detected before the metastatic spread occurs, cancer can usually be cured by surgery. However, if it has spread then aggressive chemotherapy and radiation is used in attempts to kill metastatic disease; and this is often unsuccessful. By understanding the mechanisms used by cancer cells to spread, we may be able to block this often fatal metastatic behaviour. Our team has validated a role for the novel protein Arpin in promoting the metastatic behaviour of breast cancer cells. Arpin represents an exciting new therapeutic target whose inhibition may prevent the metastatic spread of cancer cells.
Without funding from the CRS, we would not have been able to pursue this exciting new avenue of cancer research. It is the tireless efforts of volunteer fundraisers and dedicated staff at the CRS that have made these discoveries possible. My trainees, staff and I are sincerely grateful for the opportunity provided to us, and we promise to continue working hard to bring discoveries to fruition."
"Diet is well known to play a major role in the formation of cancer. In particular, high fat diets are known to accelerate the growth of several cancer types including breast and colon. Our lab aims to study the links between fat metabolism and the progression of cancer.
The exciting finding thus far is that the function of a gene called G0S2 likely will bridge our knowledge of how fat metabolism and diet may affect the outcome of cancer. The research supported by our CRS grant can open new avenues to test novel anti-cancer drugs that have never been previously considered.
The CRS is a highly unique funding agency that sets a strong priority in funding cancer research. Cancer will only be beaten by pushing our understanding forward at all times and research is essential in this endeavor."