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  • Study will identify tumour subtypes for better treatment. TFRI invests $750,000 in national childhood brain cancer project

    by User Not Found | Feb 06, 2012
    Vancouver -- A national, multidisciplinary project made up of scientific and clinical experts in both British Columbia and Ontario is receiving $750,000 over three years from The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) to improve outcomes for children diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a common form of childhood cancer.

    "Our investment in this important project is to help with the translation of advanced genomics technology for practical clinical use so that children diagnosed with this disease will, through better treatment, be able to live long, full and productive lives. We are pleased to support this project co-funded by Genome Canada and Genome BC and led by research teams in both British Columbia and Ontario," says TFRI president and scientific director Dr. Victor Ling.

    The project was announced January 30, 2012 by Genome BC in Vancouver. Genome Canada is providing $4.8 million and Genome BC is providing $2.4 million over the life of the three-year study. In all, $9.8 million from all funding partners will help the team to develop laboratory tests to determine which type of brain cancer children diagnosed with the disease suffer from to more accurately classify the tumours for treatment. The hope is that new knowledge and more treatment options will enable future treatment to be less harsh and with fewer side-effects for young people diagnosed with the disease. This includes not overtreating patients where it is unnecessary, and ensuring a good quality of life in cases where the prognosis is poor and there are few treatment options.

    TFRI's funding for the project will support the team's efforts to:
    • classify the four medulloblastoma tumour subgroups into more targeted groups based on their heterogeneity;
    • develop biomarkers to treat the identified tumour sub-groups; and
    • study the mutational data gathered during genomic sequencing to see if pre-existing therapies used for other diseases and forms of cancer would work for any of the identified tumour subtypes.

    "TFRI is funding the clinical part of the study, which is really taking the science from the lab and pushing it into the clinic through the development of biomarkers for the tumour subtypes," says project co-leader Dr. Michael Taylor, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto . "It was very valuable for us to have TFRI agree to be a funding partner in this project because with their stamp of approval we were then able to get others to agree to participate."

    Dr. Taylor says the team will work with genomics experts at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) in BC under the direction of project leader Dr. Marco Marra, director of the MSGSC, to sequence all the genes expressed in the 1,000 medulloblastoma tumours that will be studied. "We'll be sending RNA and DNA samples to Vancouver for the team there to sequence and analyze the data using a process call whole transcriptome sequencing."

    In previously published work, Dr. Taylor and his colleagues classified medulloblastoma into four specific subtypes: one has a good prognosis, a second has a poor prognosis; and the remaining two have "intermediate" prognoses. The new funding will enable them to further classify these subtypes to develop treatments and therapies that match the tumours .

    Taylor has been fortunate to develop a large collection of tumours from around the world which will be used in the study. It's rather unusual to have so many samples, he says, but the collection has been developed through work with more than 50 different cancer centres around the world under an initiative he is leading called MAGIC (Medulloblastoma Advanced Genomics International Consortium).

    Having this large a collection to study will enable the team to develop appropriate biomarkers , work that has already begun in Toronto. "The sequencing will help us identify more robust markers and what will work in people's hand around the world." Biomarkers would need to be tested in a clinical trial before moving into the clinic for human application.

    Ultimately, the goal is to avoid overtreating some tumours where less harsh treatments would suffice; and, at the same time, identify tumours where available treatment options will not work and, in fact, will compromise what quality of life may exist for patients with a poor prognosis.

    Dr. David Malkin, a pediatric oncologist at Sick Kids, is also a project co-leader.

    View the Genome BC press release

    View the Vancouver Sun article
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal honours legacy of Terry Fox

    by User Not Found | Feb 06, 2012
    Ottawa -- TFRI Senior Advisor Darrell Fox was among 60 Canadians who received today the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

    Fox received the medal on behalf of the Family of Terry Fox, the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute. The citation recognized the Fox Family and the two organizations that bear the Terry Fox name for their "dedication to finding a cure for cancer and for raising the public's awareness of Terry Fox's legacy."

    The event marked the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The medals were presented by the Governor General of Canada David Johnston and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper.

    In all, 60,000 Canadians who have dedicated themselves to service to their fellow citizens, their community and their country will be recognized with the medal.

    For more information visit: http://www.gg.ca/index.aspx
  • BC surgeon Dr. Nadine Caron delivers keynote address at inaugural TFRI-BC Node Research Day

    by User Not Found | Dec 12, 2011

    Dr. Nadine Caron. Pic #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6
    UBC assistant professor Dr. Nadine Caron, a general surgeon in the northern BC (Prince George), gave the keynote address on Dec. 1 at the first TFRI-BC Node Research Day.

    More than 140 scientists, clinicians and trainees attended the afternoon session, which included talks by investigators funded under the translational, discovery and new investigator research portfolio overseen by The Terry Fox Research Institute and funded through The Terry Fox Foundation. There was also an evening poster session. Organized under the leadership of BC Node Leader Dr. Marco Marra (Genome Sciences Centre), with support from Robyn Roscoe and her team at GSC, the research day was held as an afternoon segment of the BC Cancer Agency's annual cancer conference held in Vancouver.

    Dr. Caron is a member of TFRI-BC's Regional Advisory Committee and an alumna of Simon Fraser University, where both she and Terry Fox studied kinesiology. She regaled the audience with several inspiring stories about Terry - including one about the first marathon he completed in Prince George before he undertook his Marathon of Hope.

    She spoke of his effect on her life. "I was nine years old when Terry dipped his foot in the [Atlantic Ocean] and I remember it very clearly. How is that for translation? I was nine and living in Kamloops and I planned to see Terry when he came through Kamloops… My mother promised me he would be there in Kamloops… and he never made it. Terry was the first person I knew who died of cancer.

    "He was amazing. He could translate more than statistics and medical results… and what he translated was much bigger: passion, courage, hope, cancer research, and emotional intelligence," said Dr. Caron.

    She also spoke of the challenges of delivering health care in northern regions and to marginalized populations, urging both the audience and TFRI to consider ways to ensure that individuals in these rural and remote communities are able to reach the bedside so they can benefit from bench-to-bedside advances. "The population struggles to get the care that is already out there," she explained.

    She also cited a lack of access to research as a barrier for these populations, describing one patient who wanted to leave the world a better place by participating in a clinical trial, an opportunity she was never given when she underwent care for her cancer. "Stella (not her real name) wanted the opportunity to be a part of the solution," remarked Dr. Caron.

    With regard to translational research, she told the gathered researchers: "Your target audience is every single person in this country and I think Terry showed us that." Translational research, she remarked, requires lots of input for it to really work.

    (Dr Caron was the first aboriginal woman to graduate from the UBC Faculty of Medicine, finishing at the top of her class in 1997. She is a general and endocrine surgeon at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and an assistant professor in UBC's Northern Medical Program. )

    Taking home top honours from the evening poster session was Dr. Kevin Bennewith, BC Cancer Agency, who spoke on hypoxic tumour cells. Honourable mention went to Dr. Ali Bashashati, BC Cancer Agency, who presented a talk related to the flow informatics approaches for identification of normal and maligant stem cells project.

    "We were very pleased with the strong attendance at and participation in this inaugural node day and wish to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to its success," said Dr. Marra.

    The 2012 TFRI-BC Node Day will also be held as part of the annual BC Cancer Conference.
  • Scientists brave heavy rain in Toronto to run in memory of Betty Fox

    by User Not Found | Dec 09, 2011


     Betty Fox Tribute Run/Walk participants in Toronto on Nov. 29. Photo: Glenn Lowson

    Terry's father Rolly and sister Judith also joined the group, which set out from the Sheraton Hotel and ran to and from the Terry Fox Miracle Mile. The group included researchers, clinicians and trainees who were attending the inaugural Canadian Cancer Research Conference in Toronto; many are funded by Terry Fox through its translational, discovery and capacity-building projects and programs. Daniel Clattenburg of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia was the first runner to complete the route with a time of 25 minutes.

    View a slideshow from the event. Photos: Glenn Lowson

  • Manitoba graduate and post-doctoral researchers: 2012 funding competition announced

    by User Not Found | Dec 09, 2011

    TFRI and the Manitoba Health Research Council are partners in this competition. The deadline for applications is Feb. 1, 2012.

    More details

  • Terry Fox Run dollars provide $12.7 million to Canadian scientists and health research centres for breakthrough cancer research

    by User Not Found | Nov 02, 2011

    • Media Backgrounder; Projects and Investigators: Click Here
    Vancouver, BC – Cancer patients across Canada will benefit from a multi-million dollar investment by The Terry Fox Foundation that will support new and breakthrough research undertaken by leading scientists and clinicians at health and research centres and institutions in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

    “Today The Terry Fox Foundation is providing a total of $12.7 million for three significant research programs led by the nation's top cancer scientists. We are confident their work will open doors to new discoveries that advance our understanding of this disease and enable new and innovative ways to diagnose and treat cancer in its many forms,” says Dr. Victor Ling, President and Scientific Director of the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI). “We appreciate the work of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in overseeing the peer review for this very prestigious competition. These grants provide substantial funding to enable scientists to explore fundamental and complex areas of cancer research which are critical to our understanding and management of cancer.”

    “I applaud The Terry Fox Foundation for its commitment to supporting research that aims to make breakthroughs in the fight against cancer," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister of Health. "The Government of Canada is pleased to have been able to help in the process of selecting these outstanding research teams for funding. Their work, and the funds invested by The Terry Fox Foundation, will contribute to improved health for all Canadians."

    “Terry believed in the importance of cancer research. Our investment ensures that the best and brightest research teams will be able to move his vision forward with new discoveries that will make a difference for cancer patients everywhere,” says Mr. Brett Kohli, National Director, The Terry Fox Foundation. “We are extremely grateful to the millions of Canadians, young and old, who believe in Terry's vision and support this important and complex research through our annual school and community Terry Fox runs.”

    Nearly one-half of the funds to be invested via the 2011 New Frontiers Program Project Grants at CIHR competition will support new research into advanced prostate cancer at the Vancouver Coastal Health's Vancouver Prostate Centre. The lead investigator of the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program on Prostate Cancer Progression is Dr. Martin Gleave, executive director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre and lead investigator. With five-year funding of over $6M, Dr. Gleave and a team of 20 co-investigators will delve deeper into understanding why patients with advanced cancer become resistant to hormone therapy. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and a leading cause of cancer-related death of men.

    “Our research defines changes in gene and cell function that enables prostate cancer cells to become resistant to hormone therapy,” says Dr. Gleave, distinguished professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC and holder of the Liber Ero BC Leadership Chair in Prostate Cancer Research. “After identifying these changes, we then use this information to develop new therapies to delay disease progression. Our long-standing Terry Fox program serves as a major catalyst for translational research that has already enabled us to bring several new therapies from bench-to-bedside.”

    At The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario, Dr. Sean Egan, senior scientist in the Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Program, and associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, heads an investigative team that will receive $2.8M over three years to find the “Achilles' heel” responsible for tumour metastases of the breast and brain. “Recent cancer DNA sequencing efforts have shown that cancer-associated mutations can be quite different between primary tumours and their metastases, which have spread throughout the body. This is particularly true in some forms of brain and breast cancer,” says Dr. Egan. “These differences pose serious challenges, impeding efforts to identify therapy for advanced metastatic tumours. Our group, which aims to address tumour heterogeneity through the identification of subgroup-specific "shared maintenance genes,” will use these funds from The Terry Fox Foundation to identify critical targets to treat the primary tumours and their malignant descendants.”

    In Montreal, Quebec, at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, Dr. Michel Tremblay, professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Oncology and Centre director, will lead a team of investigators over the next three years to study molecular linkages between other diseases and cancer. “The scientific and medical communities have long known that the intricate molecular control in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are linked to cancer. Yet this remains uncharted territory and much work needs to be done to understand these links. The New Frontiers oncometabolism team grant is an outstanding opportunity to work at understanding this interrelation and to develop novel strategies to tackle cancer management," says Dr. Tremblay. His team will receive a total of $3.8M over three years

    The New Frontiers Program Project Grants is the flagship program of The Terry Fox Foundation's investment portfolio, funding team science and research excellence for nearly three decades. TFRI and CIHR formed a joint partnership in 2010 to oversee the delivery of the program.

    The Terry Fox Foundation will be investing approximately $16 million in 2011-2012 for cure-oriented, biomedical discovery research and another $10 million for translational research through TFRI. The funds are raised by Canadians who participate each year in Terry Fox Runs and the National School Run Day across the country in honour of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.

    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, National School Run Day and other fundraising initiatives. To date, over $550 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.

    About CIHR
    For the past 11 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and healthcare for Canadians. As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented healthcare system. Composed of 13 internationally-recognized institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

    About TFRI
    Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the brainchild of The Terry Fox Foundation and today functions as its research arm. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

    For more information, contact:
    Kelly Curwin
    The Terry Fox Research Institute
    Vancouver, BC
    telephone: 604-675-8223
    cell: 778-237-8158

    David Coulombe
    Media Affairs
    Canadian Institutes of Health Research

    Lisa Carver
    Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health
    604-875-4111, extension 61777
    Cell: 604.319.7533

    Allison Flynn
    Université McGill | McGill University

    Suzanne Gold
    The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
    416-813-7654 ext. 2059
  • New Terry Fox Research Institute initiative seeks to change the way ovarian cancer is diagnosed and managed worldwide

    by User Not Found | Oct 13, 2011

    ATTENTION MEDIA: MONTREAL, QUE. - Women throughout the world will benefit from a new, pan-Canadian Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) initiative that aims to change the way in which ovarian cancer is diagnosed and managed. TFRI and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer are providing a total of $5-million in funding for a five-year, multi-site Ovarian Cancer Pan-Canadian Program called COEUR. The program will identify new biomarkers to predict and treat this relatively rare but deadly form of cancer, which will result in the use and application of current and new drugs more effectively for patients.

    Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Western world. One in every four women diagnosed with this form of cancer is resistant to standard first-line chemotherapy. Through TFRI, leading ovarian cancer researchers and clinicians across Canada have joined forces to develop a "made-in-Canada solution" to this global clinical problem facing cancer doctors.

    The team's work will result in a new stratification system for ovarian carcinoma subtypes and will help clinicians better determine what treatment will work best for each patient. Patients who do not respond to standard therapy can be directed to clinical trials where new therapies are being validated.

    "This project will change the way in which pathologists, physicians and clinicians think about ovarian cancer. It will help us to classify and sub-divide ovarian cancer into different diseases through molecular profiling. A better understanding of the disease will enable the development and delivery of more personalized care for the patient, which is both better and more efficacious," says TFRI President and Scientific Director Dr. Victor Ling.

    "The program brings together expertise and resources from across the country to improve the lives of women in Canada and beyond who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer," says Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Director of the Research Portfolio at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, a national organization funded by Health Canada to lead the implementation of a co-ordinated cancer strategy. "This is one of several projects the Partnership is supporting with the practical goal of identifying emerging technologies that can improve the early detection and treatment of cancer and lead to better outcomes."

    Momentum to form the consortium of 35 investigators came from within the ovarian cancer community. The project is headed up by three Canadian researchers at two prominent cancer care and research centres. At the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM*), molecular oncologist Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson and gynecologist oncologist Dr. Diane Provencher are the principal investigators. Dr. David Huntsman, a genetic pathologist with the Ovarian Cancer Research Program at BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver Coastal Health, will co-lead the study from Vancouver.

    "Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare disease that is also very complex. Today we know that it consists of several different subtypes; these are not yet well understood and we have significantly more work ahead to determine what treatment will work for patients and their specific tumour subtype," says Dr. Huntsman. "This program includes an important knowledge transfer component that will enable the results to be rapidly deployed within the Canadian pathology community and readily translated into practice."

    "The women who are participating in this initiative by providing tissue samples for collection and analysis are hoping this research will accelerate the pace of discovery and validation of new biomarkers for ovarian cancer," says Dr. Provencher. "We hope to redirect women to new clinical trials and, in particular, those women who don't respond to first-line therapy."

    "The team is building a unique, central scientific platform that will create a rich clinical resource for researchers to validate new biomarkers and treatments for ovarian cancer. By linking together laboratory scientists with the oncologists, surgeons and pathologists who work with the patients on the front lines, our work will be much more relevant and bear fruit that will reach patients much more quickly," says Dr. Mes-Masson. A strength of the program is the ability to link research results across multiple studies underway across the country.

    In additional to institutional partners and investigators, other program collaborators include the Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada, Ovarian Cancer Canada, the Canadian Tumour Repository Network, the Canadian Pathology Study Group and the NCIC Clinical Trials Group. **

    *The University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre is known officially as Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM).

    About The Terry Fox Research Institute

    Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the brainchild of The Terry Fox Foundation. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

    For more information, contact:

    Kelly Curwin
    Director, Communications and Public Affairs
    Terry Fox Research Institute
    Office: 604-675-8223
    Cell: 778-237-8158

    Nathalie Forgue
    Conseillere en communication
    Direction des communications
    Centre Hospitalier de l'Universite de Montreal
    Telephone: 514-890-8000 poste 15262
    Courriel: nathalie.forgue.chum@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

    Lisa Carver, VCH/VCH Research Institute
    604 875-4111 x 61777 or 604 319-7533

    Lubna Ekramoddoullah, BC Cancer Agency
  • Pan-Canadian Surgical Study Offers New Hope for Patients with Early-Stage Oral Cancer

    by User Not Found | May 26, 2011

    Pic #1
    , #2 - TFRI is providing $4.7 million in funding for a new pan-Canadian study in oral cancer surgery. Principal investigators involved in the nine-site study met in Victoria , BC on May 23 to discuss the five-year study, which has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice in oral cancer surgery for tumours and pre-cancerous lesions of the mouth. The surgeons are using fluorescence visualization to guide surgery. Above, unveiling the project logo are (l-r): Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI president and scientific director, and Drs. Miriam Rosin, Scott Durham and Catherine Poh, TFRI COOLS Study principal investigators.
    Vancouver, BC – Currently, about 30 per cent of patients who receive oral surgery have their cancer recur. But a new, Canada-wide surgical trial using a new approach to remove tumours and pre-cancerous cells from the mouths of those diagnosed with early-stage oral cancer offers new hope for patients.

    The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) announces the launch of a $4.7 million Pan-Canadian Phase III clinical trial aimed at improving outcomes for patients undergoing surgery for oral squamous cell cancers. The Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial (The COOLS Study) has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice here and around the world for this kind of cancer.

    "Our investment in this promising study is our response to a serious clinical concern expressed by head and neck surgeons across Canada and it has the potential to change surgical practices for cancer of the mouth nationally and internationally," said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director.

    Using a new surgical approach guided by an existing hand-held light tool, the surgeons, pathologists, and scientists involved in this nine-centre study will determine whether recurrence is reduced when they shift the surgical field for the removal of tumours or pre-cancerous cells in the mouth.

    The surgeons will use fluorescence visualization (FV) or "blue light" provided by the optical aid rather than traditional white light to determine the tissue to be removed. Under the blue light, normal tissue generates a fluorescence which is absent in tumour or pre-cancerous tissue. The study will aim to spare normal healthy tissue from surgery while catching high-risk, pre-cancerous tissue identified through FV.

    "This study will have an immediate impact on practice if the study turns out the way we hope," says TFRI COOLS Study principal investigator Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency who holds joint appointments at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. "If the study is successful, it will help to reduce the number of deaths from oral cancer as well as to improve the quality of life for people living with this disease. Working with scientists, we will have this new approach ready to disseminate to the surgical community at large and even globally."

    "In work we've conducted to date in Vancouver, there has been almost no recurrence where surgery followed the contour of the lesion shown by using FV-guided surgery. Working together with surgeons, pathologists, research staff and scientists, this TFRI-funded study will enable us to test the approach on a broader cohort of patients at sites across the country and obtain the evidence required to change current practice." remarks principal investigator Dr. Catherine Poh, a senior scientist with BC Cancer Agency and oral pathologist and associate professor, University of British Columbia and oral pathologist and consulting dentist, Vancouver General Hospital.

    This is the first Canadian study ever to bring together this group of clinicians to address a surgical challenge in oral cancer. "Our surgical community has expressed great interest in participating in this trial which provides a unique and important opportunity to assess a surgical intervention in a controlled prospective manner across many sites," says principal investigator Dr. Scott Durham, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and clinical professor and head, division of otolaryngology, Vancouver General Hospital. The study aims to build a network of clinicians, pathologists and research staff across the country to fight oral cancer.

    About The Terry Fox Research Institute:

    Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the research arm of The Terry Fox Foundation. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada as MOU partners. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca



    For more information, contact:

    Kelly Curwin

    Chief Communications Officer
    C: 778-237-8158



    9am, BC Cancer Agency

    Please meet in front lobby of BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Centre

    600 West 10th Avenue

    COOLS study principal investigator Dr. Catherine Poh will demonstrate the Fluorescence Visualization (Blue Light) Tool at a demonstration in the Oral Oncology laboratory with a former patient who underwent oral surgery four years ago. Dr. Poh will also make available clinical images depicting lesions as seen under white light and flourescence visualization. Both Dr. Poh and the cancer survivor will be available during this time to be interviewed by media.

    For more information, or to attend this demonstration, please contact:

    Allison Colina
    BC Cancer Agency
    t. 604-861-8079
    Lisa Carver
    Vancouver Coastal Research
    t. 604-319-7533


    The Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial (COOLS Study)

    Total Invested: $4,734.469

    Study Leads:
    • Dr. Miriam Rosin, Principal Investigator (Director of the British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program; Senior Scientist, BC Cancer Agency; Professor, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University and Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia
    • Dr. Catherine Poh, Principal Investigator (Oral Pathologist, BC Provincial Oral Biopsy Service; Senior Scientist, BC Cancer Agency; Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia; Oral Pathologist, Anatomical Pathology and consulting dentist in Dentistry at Vancouver General Hospital).
    • Dr. Scott Durham, Principal Investigator (Head, Department of Otolaryngology, Vancouver General Hospital; Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Consulting Surgical Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency )
    • Dr. Calum MacAulay, Project Imaging Lead (Head, Integrative Oncology Department, BC Cancer Agency; Professor, Pathology/Laboratory Medicine and Physics and Astronomy departments, University of British Columbia)
    • Dr. Stuart Peacock, Health Economist (Co-Director, Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC), Associate Professor, University of British Columbia) and Dr. Jeffrey Hoch Health Economist (Co-Director, ARCC)
    • Dr. Kitty Corbett, Knowledge Translation and Public Health Communication Specialist (Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University)
    About the Study

    Primary Objective: The primary objective is to determine whether a simple hand-held light device to guide surgery can reduce oral cancer recurrence
    Design: Double-blinded, controlled randomized Phase III study
    Duration: 5 years
    Participants: Patients diagnosed with severe dysplasia, carcinoma in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinoma and undergoing surgery treatment with intent to cure.

    Led by Vancouver-based clinicians and scientists, this pan-Canadian study will recruit 400 patients from across Canada over the next two years; study teams at the nine sites will continue to follow their patients' progress for an additional three years to determine if there is any recurrence. Teams of clinicians and scientists have been formed at each site and they include surgeons, pathologists, dental specialists, and research nurses and coordinators. Participating surgeons will recruit eligible patients.

    As part of the study, health economists will collect health economic evidence and data relative to the cost-effectiveness of the study and cost per quality of adjusted life years gained. As well, a knowledge translation specialist will partner with the team to collect and exchange health service information and develop plans to apply, both in Canada and abroad, the knowledge gained.

    Specialized Fluorescence Flash Camera: A special, user-friendly "all in one" camera has been developed which will allow the FV specialist to automatically capture clinical lesion images under white light and fluorescence visualization without needing changes to filters or settings.

    Participating Sites


    In Canada, it is estimated that 3,400 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. In 2010, the estimated number of deaths due to oral cancer was 1,150. (Source: Canadian Cancer Society, 2010) Surgery is often used to treat oral cancer. Reconstructive surgery may be needed after the surgeon removes the tumour and some healthy tissue around it. If the cancer has spread, surgery may be required in other areas such as the neck, lymph nodes and throat.
  • Ottawa resident receives excellent prognosis after study detects early lung cancer

    by User Not Found | Apr 20, 2011

    Debi Lascelle holds a loonie stamped with the image of Terry Fox produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2005. The loonie has been tucked away in her jewellery box for over five years. A participant in the Early Detection Lung Cancer Study funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute, Lascelle believes her story is a perfect example of how early detection can save lives. She is grateful that lung cancer research is being funded and conducted.
    OTTAWA-- Ottawa resident Debi Lascelle believes she saved her life by participating in The Terry Fox Research Institute's Pan Canadian Early Lung Cancer Detection Study being conducted at The Ottawa Hospital.

    Diagnosed in December 2010 with the most common form of lung cancer - adenocarcinoma --she had no symptoms when a 13-millimetre tumour was found on her right lung. Fortunately, it was discovered early and the tumour was small. She underwent a lobectomy on her right lung. Her prognosis is excellent.

    The 54-year-old provincial court reporter and former smoker is sharing her story so others know the importance of early detection, particularly for lung cancer. "It could have been so much worse. I am so incredibly grateful; it is just amazing that it was caught so early,'" she says.

    "Debi's case illustrates the importance of early detection of lung cancer. When detected at their earliest stages, lung tumours can be removed with a high likelihood of cure. Today most people with lung cancer are diagnosed with more advanced disease that can be slowed or controlled for a time, but never cured," says her doctor and oncologist Dr. Garth Nicholas of The Ottawa Hospital's Ages Cancer Assessment Clinic. He is a co-investigator with the pan-Canadian study. "Through the efforts of Debi and 2,500 other study volunteers like her, we hope to find a way to make early detection a common event, and thereby to reduce the burden of this terrible disease in Canada and around the world."

    The Ottawa site study got under way almost two years ago and has now reached its recruitment goal. Those enrolled will be followed over the next two years of the study. The study used a novel lung cancer prediction tool to identify smokers at high risk of lung cancer.

    Lascelle is grateful to the study funders - The Terry Fox Research Institute and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer - for funding research into a form of cancer that today still carries a huge social stigma and leaves very few survivors. Since Debi's cancer diagnosis, her doctor has confirmed seven other cases of lung cancer.

    She and her husband John are now planning a trip to Arizona to celebrate his retirement two years ago from the Royal Canadian Mint, and their 20th wedding anniversary in August 2011. Debi is looking forward to resuming yoga and has found no difference in her lung capacity.

    Debi's father died of lung cancer and she watched a friend lose her life to the disease. She wants people to know that early detection is important. "It's fantastic and I want to share it with others."

    Eight sites across Canada are participating in the study, which will receive more than $7 million over five years from the Terry Fox Research Institute and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. A preliminary analysis of the pan-Canadian study is expected later this year.

    Every year, approximately 24,000 Canadians are diagnosed with lung cancer. It kills more people than breast, colorectal or prostate cancer combined.

    About The Terry Fox Research Institute
    Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the brainchild of The Terry Fox Foundation. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

    About The Ottawa Hospital
    One of Canada's largest teaching and research hospitals, The Ottawa Hospital is a bilingual multi-campus, health sciences centre, serving the 1.2 million residents of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. With 1,240 beds and an annual budget close to $1 Billion, The Ottawa Hospital provides care for more patients than any other hospital in Canada. To meet the high demand for its services, it relies on a dedicated and compassionate team of 12,000 employees, 1,250 physicians and more than 2,000 volunteers.

    The Ottawa Hospital is renowned for its leadership in patient care, research, education and for its investment in state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Working together with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the University of Ottawa, and other partners, TOH is gaining national and international recognition for high quality patient care, teaching and research. www.ottawahospital.on.ca

    For more information contact:

    Kelly Curwin
    Chief Communications Officer
    Terry Fox Research Institute
    604-675-8223; c: 778-237-8158
    Hazel Harding
    Communications Advisor
    The Ottawa Hospital
    Tel.: 613-737-8460
    Email: hharding@toh.on.ca
  • TFRI welcomes new investment at CancerCare Manitoba

    by User Not Found | Apr 14, 2011
    Vancouver -- News that the Province of Manitoba is investing $70 million to create a new, state-of-the-art facility for CancerCare Manitoba is welcomed enthusiastically by the Terry Fox Research Institute. CancerCare Manitoba is one of TFRI's partners in its newly established Prairie node.

    "We congratulate the Province of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba for this tremendous investment and commitment which will greatly benefit cancer patients in the province," said TFRI President and Scientific Director Dr. Victor Ling. "TFRI will also benefit from this new investment. It will strengthen our regional node by providing top-notch facilities and space for clinicians and scientists, including those associated with TFRI."

    Prairie Node Leader Dr. Jim Davie, senior scientist, Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, and professor, Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba, says the new facility will enhance a number of research areas including colorectal cancer, molecular and genetic testing, and cell biology, as well as facilitate access to emerging cancer therapies and leading-edge medical care.

    Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger announced April 13, 2011 that the funding will improve diagnostics, treatment and research that will help all Manitobans affected by the disease.
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