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  • Ontario Node Symposium Day

    by User Not Found | Dec 09, 2014

    The TFRI Ontario Node hosted its first scientific symposium on Monday, December 8, 2014, at the the MaRS Discovery Centre, Toronto. Over 260 people attended the day and listened as invited speakers from across TFRI research programs covered topics on "Tumour Models" and "Detection and Therapeutics". Keynote presentations were delivered by Nahum Sonenberg (Goodman Cancer Centre, McGill) and Yossi Schlessinger (Yale University, USA).

     2014-symposium-022014-symposium-01 2014-symposium-03

  • The Terry Fox Foundation welcomes Britt Andersen as new Executive Director

    by User Not Found | Nov 24, 2014

    Terry Fox Foundation logo

    Britt AndersenThe Terry Fox Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Britt Andersen as its new Executive Director, effective November 24, 2014.

    “Britt comes to the Foundation at an important time, following this year’s unprecedented increase in research funding for hard-to-treat cancers and personalized care,” says William Pristanski, chair of the Terry Fox Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Britt’s people-centered values, his commitment to improving our community and his extensive experience in the not-for-profit and corporate sectors will be a tremendous asset as the foundation prepares for the 35th anniversary of Terry’s Marathon of Hope.”

    Andersen has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of executive roles. He has held senior positions within the private sector and serves on several not-for-profit boards. Andersen was most recently the CEO of the Coast Mental Health Foundation.

    For his part, Andersen is delighted to be joining the Terry Fox Foundation. “Any Canadian growing up in the 80's marveled at Terry's courage and unwavering dream of finding a cure for cancer. To me, Terry is a symbol of the very values and spirit that define this nation. I am honoured to join this remarkable team of devoted staff, volunteers and contributors dedicated to keeping Terry’s dream alive, to one day end cancer through research.”

    Each year volunteers lead and organize over 9,000 Terry Fox Runs in Canada and around the world, all to honour the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising funds exclusively for cancer research. To date, these grassroots events have raised over $650 million supporting around $25 million in cancer research annually. Having already funded 1,164 projects, the Terry Fox Foundation is one of the largest non-governmental funders of cancer research in the country.

    About TFF
    The Terry Fox Foundation maintains the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, Terry’s CAUSE on Campus, National School Run Day and other fundraising initiatives. To date, over $650 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry Fox's name. The first Terry Fox Run was held in 1981, with The Terry Fox Foundation being created in 1988. Its national headquarters are located in Chilliwack, BC and it has offices in nine provinces. www.terryfox.org.

  • Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou will join Darrell Fox and West Vancouver MP John Weston in Taipei Terry Fox Run

    by User Not Found | Nov 13, 2014

    (Vancouver, BC,) – The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) is pleased to announce that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou will participate in the Terry Fox Run being held in Taipei, Taiwan on Saturday November 15, 2014 at Taipei University. Joining President Ma at the start line will be Terry Fox’s brother Darrell Fox, MP John Weston (West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country), Taipei University leaders as well as representatives from joint governmental economic, cultural and trade offices in Canada and Taiwan.

    “We are absolutely thrilled to have President Ma participate in the Terry Fox Run in Taiwan. We are deeply grateful for all the hard work by so many here in Canada as well as in Taiwan over the past 18 months, allowing Terry’s dream to continue and to honour his legacy in a country so far removed from his own,” said Judith Fox-Alder, International Director for the Terry Fox Foundation.

    “The story of Terry Fox is one of the last century's most moving examples of a person's struggle. This run will help to promote ties between our two countries,” said President Ma, an ardent supporter who participated in the Taiwan run 12 times previously. The run formerly ranked among the top ten Terry Fox Runs worldwide for its success in raising funds and attracting participants (over 4,000 in 2004).

    Following a seven-year gap, the Taipei run is now being restored under new leadership and support from the Taiwan-Canada and Canada-Taiwan Friendship Groups, the Taipei Economic Cultural Office, the Canadian Trade Office in Taiwan, and Taipei University, the new run host.

    “I am delighted to say that, after many years, the Terry Fox Run will once again return to the scene in Taiwan. What an honour to be on hand to talk about Terry Fox’s message in the place where I lived so happily for a decade,” said John Weston, MP for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, and Chair of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group. “Inspired by a Canadian hero, the Run profiles the search for the cure for cancer. It’s an honour that Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou will join with Darrell Fox, Terry’s brother, in the event. On a people-to-people level, it will also be a chance to promote values shared by the peoples of Taiwan and Canada: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

    The funds raised in Taipei will be held in trust by the TFF until such time that research projects have been identified in Taiwan for investment. The Foundation’s research arm, The Terry Fox Research Institute, will be involved in the research project identification process.

    Under a previous agreement between TFRI and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC), TFRI-funded researchers in British Columbia and medical researchers in Taiwan are collaborating on research projects in leukemia, liver and lung cancer. The goal of these projects is to fund new knowledge in these areas as well as to find new and better ways to treat cancer for the benefit of both countries.

    Countries around the world hold annual events to raise money for cancer research in memory of Terry Fox. Nearly all monies raised at runs outside Canada are retained in the host country, funding research projects at recognized research institutions approved by The Terry Fox Foundation on the advice of the Terry Fox Research Institute. In 2013, 28 countries held Terry Fox runs at 5,056 sites around the world, with a total of over 2 million participants.

    About TFF

    The Terry Fox Foundation maintains the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, Terry’s CAUSE on Campus, National School Run Day and other fundraising initiatives. To date, over $650 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry Fox's name. The first Terry Fox Run was held in 1981, with The Terry Fox Foundation being created in 1988. Its national headquarters are located in Chilliwack, BC and it has offices in 9 provinces. www.terryfox.org.

    For more information, or to schedule an interview*, contact:
    Kelly Curwin, Chief Communications Officer
    Terry Fox Research Institute

    Josh Hemond, Director of Communications
    Office of John Weston, MP for West Vancouver

    *Darrell Fox available through Monday, Nov. 10th; MP Weston available until Nov. 12th


  • Men's Health

    by User Not Found | Nov 12, 2014
    slider-prostate-cancerWatch Dr. Victor Ling talk about our research in prostate cancer.
  • BC Node Regional Advisory Committee meets with MLAs

    by User Not Found | Nov 05, 2014

    Victoria , BC Nov. 3 -- BC MLAs and ministers had an opportunity Nov. 3 to learn how cancer research is working from TFRI-BC Node Regional Advisory Committee members and invited speakers. The politicians attended an awareness and information session in Victoria, hosted by the RAC, with chair Simon Sutcliffe as moderator. Speakers included Victor Ling, Darrell Fox, Simon Sutcliffe, Marco Marra, Janessa Laskin, and Patrick Sullivan.

    Over 30 MLAs, including 9 ministers, attended. The two-hour session included a thoughtful question-and-answer period. Several MLAs remarked on the value of the evening and on the excellence of the presenters and talks, specifically how helpful it was to hear stories that help to illustrate the challenges and successes in cancer research. It was the first such meeting held by the BC-RAC.


    TFRI executive and staff with TFRI-BC RAC members and invited speakers on Nov. 3

  • BC legislature supports Terry Fox Day

    by User Not Found | Oct 23, 2014

    Victoria, BC Oct. 23, 2014 -- BC MLA (Port Moody-Coquitlam) Linda Reimer introduced a member's bill into the BC legislature yesterday calling for the second Sunday after Labour Day to be designated Terry Fox Day to coincide with the annual Terry Fox runs across the province. "This bill is so deserved," remarked Reimer, reading the Terry Fox Day Act to MLAs in the presence of members of the Fox family. The bill passed first reading and will be read a second time at the next meeting of the Legislature. BC Premier Christie Clark presented a plaque to Terry's father Rolly to commemorate the occasion.

    Watch video of Linda Reimer's comments and reading.


    BC Premier Christie Clark (second from left) is shown here with Fox family members (left to right): brother Fred, father Rolly, brother Darrell and sister Judith.

  • TFRI and Team Finn Foundation form partnership

    by User Not Found | Oct 23, 2014

    Vancouver, BC October 23, 2014 – TFRI and the Team Finn Foundation have formed a new partnership. Each organization is contributing $15,000 to build a business plan around a new research initiative focused on young persons’ cancer.

    “The Terry Fox Research Institute is pleased to be working in partnership with the Team Finn Foundation to support the development of a Young Persons’ Cancer Initiative,” says Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI president and scientific director.

    "The Team Finn Foundation is very excited about this groundbreaking pediatric partnership with the Terry Fox Research Institute. We firmly believe that this ‘omics’-based project focused on kids not only offers hope and promise to those who have none, it will also provide leadership within and beyond the area of pediatric cancer,” said Patrick Sullivan for Team Finn Foundation.

    The initiative will be subject to international peer review during Spring 2015 before it is eligible to receive funding from the TFRI and other potential partners. Team Finn Foundation remembers young three-year-old Finn Sullivan, who ran, jumped, bounced, danced and sang while living with cancer.

    Learn more about The Team Finn Foundation

  • Dr. John Maris, keynote speaker for TFRI BC Node Research Day

    by User Not Found | Aug 15, 2014

    Dr. John Maris will deliver the opening address at this year's TFRI BC Node Research Day, taking place on 13 November at the BC Cancer Agency.

    Dr. Maris is currently Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His group has discovered the majority of the genes that influence susceptibility to human neuroblastoma, and has identified many of the oncogenic drivers of the disease, resulting in the implementation of new genomic biomarkers of outcome that are now routinely used in the clinic. Dr. Maris serves as the Dream Team Leader for the Stand up to Cancer-St. Baldrick’s Foundation project to bring genomics and immunology together to combat childhood cancers.

    A poster session and reception will take place the evening before, on Wednesday 12 November, at the UBC Medical Student Alumni Centre.

    Registration can be completed here: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/TFRIBCnodeResearchDay2014/

    For more information see the Research Day information leaflet, or contact Robyn Roscoe: rroscoe@bcgsc.ca

  • Staff, management at Montreal hotel donate $1,000 to Terry Fox research

    by User Not Found | Jul 28, 2014

    Montreal -- TFRI’s fifth annual scientific meeting (ASM) in Montreal, Quebec this spring wrapped up with a surprise cash donation of a $1,000 for Terry Fox research.

    Hyatt Hotel staff presents donation check to TFRI

    Left to right: Dr Victor Ling (TFRI president), Catherine Thibodeau (convention manager), Marie Dubé (human resources), Darrell Fox (TFRI senior advisor), Claude Harrison (front desk), José Oliveira (housekeeping) and Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson (TFRI Quebec Node Leader and chair of the 2014 ASM). Photo credit: Dominique Lalonde.

    Staff and management at the Hyatt Regency, the host hotel for our meeting, came forward with an envelope filled with cash collected on site from employees. The donation was matched by management. The cash was presented by Marie Dubé, director of human resources, to Darrell Fox, TFRI’s senior advisor. “We really believe in what you are doing and this is such an important cause to all our staff here,” remarked Dubé. “Cancer affects us all.”

    “This gift capped a wonderful experience in Montreal for our research family. We thank everyone at the Hyatt who very generously gave to support Terry’s cause and the research done in his name. We are so honoured by your kindness,” said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI’s president and scientific director. “It is because of you that we are able to do undertake the research we do and we hope it will make a difference in the lives of your loved ones and others who are affected by cancer.”

    Four of the hotel employees who attended the donation presentation ran with TFRI researchers during the Early Morning Run on May 9th. A number run weekly as part of “Run with Claude,” an informal employee run group at the hotel. The 5th ASM was held May 8-10th.

  • Innovative new investigators to study cancer growth and response to treatment

    by User Not Found | Mar 06, 2014

    Three promising Canadian cancer researchers, two in Ontario and one in Quebec, have been awarded a total of $1.35 million under the Terry Fox Research Institute’s 2013 New Investigator Awards.

     Dr. Paul Boutros    Dr. Catherine O'Brien    Dr. Franics Rodier
    (From left) Dr. Paul Boutros, Dr. Catherine O'Brien and Dr. Franics Rodier are TFRI's New Investigator Awardees for 2013

    University Health Network researchers Drs. Paul Boutros and Catherine O’Brien and Dr. Francis Rodier, Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CRCHUM), were selected by a committee of international scientific experts in a competitive application process. Each will now be mentored within a team of Terry Fox-funded discovery or translational research projects where they will work with leading cancer researchers.

    Each investigator will use a different approach and technique to try to uncover more about how cancers grow and respond to treatments. Their goal is to learn why some cancers respond better to therapy than others.

    Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI president and scientific director, explains why their work is important. “There can be big differences not only between cancers, but within a cancer tumour and between single cancer cells. I’m very excited to see how these three young investigators progress and what they find out.”

    The funding for the three investigators will be provided over the next three years. The New Investigators program is an annual competition and provides research operating grant support to future leaders as they develop their independent careers in cancer research.


    Dr. Paul Boutros
    Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

    Project Title: Systems Biology of Tumour Hypoxia
    Award: $450,000
    Mentoring Program: The Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant: Hypoxia in Tumours: Clinical and Experimental Studies
    Mentors/PIs: Dr. Bradly Wouters and Dr. Robert Bristow

    Dr. Paul Boutros is a computational biologist and principal investigator with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Using his mathematical expertise, Dr. Boutros will take a computational approach to modeling the internal structure or “micro-environment” of a tumour, with the goal of predicting how a tumour will respond to therapy.

    “Tumours that look superficially very similar can have very different responses to treatment,” he explains. “Some areas within a tumour grow quickly and others grow slowly. In particular, different parts of a tumour show differences in blood circulation and in oxygenation. Tumours with blood vessels that are inefficient at providing oxygen respond very poorly to many therapies. By creating models of the tumour micro-environment and bringing different data sets together, I hope to find a link between genetics and tumour oxygenation.”

    As part of the TFRI Hypoxia in Tumours Program Project Grant, Dr. Boutros will have access to 15 years’ worth of unique data collected from several projects. “By combining everything we know about a tumour, in the future we may be able to predict how a patient will respond to treatment, potentially enabling us to modify existing therapies and treat patients more effectively.”

    Being part of TFRI is critical to Dr. Boutros’ work. He says “I am able to learn so much from colleagues with more experience and scientific backgrounds that are different from mine. They help me apply clinical meaning to my mathematical work. Being part of the TFRI community not only helps me, but my research team and trainees all benefit greatly as well. ”

    Dr. Rob Bristow, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, says “The merging of our many datasets collected over the years will lead to a better understanding of tumour biology and prognosis. Dr. Boutros is an outstanding addition to our PPG team and he fills an important gap in bioinformatics across all our projects.”


    Dr. Catherine O’Brien
    University Health Network

    Project Title: Understanding Cancer Stem Cell Heterogeneity and Dynamics: Implications for Therapy in Human Colorectal Cancer
    Award: $450,000
    Mentoring Program: The Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant: Addressing tumour heterogeneity through identification of subgroup-specific "shared maintenance genes" - the right target for each cancer
    Mentor/PI: Dr. Sean Egan

    Dr. Catherine O’Brien is a scientist with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and a general surgeon with the University Health Network. She is studying colorectal cancer at the level of single cells to identify which cells cause metastases and are resistant to chemotherapy.

    “We have known for a long time that not all cells in any given cancer are the same – some cancer cells are more aggressive than others. We also know that cancer cells from the same tumour can demonstrate differential responses to chemotherapy. Our goal is to study colorectal cancer at the single-cell level, by doing so we can begin to understand what makes certain cells so aggressive. The ultimate goal is to devise therapies directed at these specific cells.”

    Being part of a TFRI Program Project Grant (PPG) has given Dr. O’Brien many new opportunities to work with a wider research community. For example, she will track the growth of different cancer cells using a bar-coding method developed by fellow TFRI researcher Dr. Jason Moffat (University of Toronto).

    “TFRI is unique within Canada, and working within the PPG is an incredible opportunity for me. The other investigators are all world-class researchers. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to interact with them otherwise. I can discuss my work and get their input and learn from their different areas of research.”

    TFF PPG Principal Investigator Dr. Sean Egan, University of Toronto, says “Dr. O’Brien's proposed work is particularly exciting; by studying cell composition before and after treatment she will be able to answer questions regarding how colorectal cancers respond to both standard chemotherapeutic agents and stem cell-targeted therapies.”


    Dr. Francis Rodier
    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CRCHUM)

    Project Title: Understanding the Impact of Cancer Cell Fate Decisions During Ovarian Cancer Treatment
    Award: $450,000
    Mentoring Program: TFRI’s Translational Cancer Research Project: A Pan-Canadian Platform for the Development of Biomarker-Driven, Subtype-Specific Management of Ovarian Carcinoma (COEUR)
    Mentors/PIs: Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Dr. David Huntsman and Dr. Diane Provencher

    Dr. Francis Rodier, an associate professor of molecular and cell biology at the department of radiology, radio-oncology and nuclear medicine at the University of Montreal, is studying how ovarian cancer cells respond to the damage caused by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

    In response to treatment, damaged cells have many options; they can repair themselves, they can die, or they can enter a state of permanent growth arrest called “senescence”. Dr. Rodier is particularly interested in this process of senescence, where cells stop growing but don’t die.

    “Nobody really knows what is going on inside tumours during treatment. We know if a tumour is regressing or not, but we don’t really understand what’s going on inside,” explains Dr. Rodier. “By analyzing tissue samples from patients pre- and post-treatment, we can characterize different cancer cell responses to therapy and whether senescence has an impact on treatment success and patient survival.”

    Dr. Rodier is now mentored by TFRI’s Translational Cancer Research Project, led by Drs. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson and Diane Provencher, at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CRCHUM), and Dr. David Huntsman (BC Cancer Agency). Using the COEUR project’s biobank of tissue samples, his initial goal is to determine how much senescence occurs within cancer cells in response to treatment and to identify some biomarkers that could label this process. Any biomarkers found could potentially be used to follow-up treatment evolution in real time or even predict how well a patient will respond to a given treatment.

    “Being part of the TFRI network is a huge advantage. It allows me an opportunity to collaborate with other established Canadian researchers that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I am trying to focus more and more on applying my research to the patient. Learning from Anne-Marie, David and Diane is incredibly important as my background is in a completely different type of science,” says Dr. Rodier.

    TFRI project co-leader Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, director of cancer research at CRCHUM, is delighted that Dr. Rodier has taken an interest in ovarian cancer. “Our CRCHUM biobank has a rich resource in terms of cell lines, cultures, and tumour samples, and Francis’s research will make excellent use of this data.”

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