For years, doctors have used three major tools to fight cancer: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. But in recent years a fourth option has emerged, revolutionizing cancer treatment and research in its wake: immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a promising type of treatment that harnesses the power of a person’s own immune system to fight cancer. Today, there are several types of immunotherapies, some of which have already been approved for use in multiple cancer types. But despite these advances, researchers still struggle to overcome two major challenges regarding its use: harsh side-effects and the fact that it’s only effective in a small subset of the population.
The need to overcome these limitations and find new ways to effectively harness the immune system to fight cancer makes immunotherapy one of the most interesting areas in cancer research today.
Our Research Strategy
At the Terry Fox Research Institute, we are bringing together the best researchers from the country's top cancer institutions to work on projects that are improving our ability to improve access to effective immunotherapies.
In 2019/20, roughly 13.7 per cent of the money invested by the TFRI supported immunotherapy research. This added up to a total investment of $2.9 million.*
To allocate our resources, we ask international experts to evaluate the excellence and the potential for impact of all our research projects. This approach distinguishes our research investment strategy from all others in Canada and allows donors to be confident that their investment is supporting the top 5% of Canadian researchers and their science.
*Our scientific discovery projects are interdisciplinary by design and often focus on more than one cancer type. The figures listed above are an estimate and should not be taken as exact figures.