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  • Investment helps novel drug for colorectal cancer move forward into clinical trial to determine tolerability for patients

    by User Not Found | Apr 12, 2011

    Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope

    Vancouver, BC - The Terry Fox Research Institute's investment in a translational research project at the BC Cancer Agency has contributed to the development and licensing of a new form of an existing drug which will next be tested in humans to determine if it is more effective and less toxic for patients with colorectal cancer.

    Irinophore CTM is a proprietary anti-tumour product developed by researchers at the BC Cancer Agency. Since 2008, TFRI has provided more than $700,000 for pre-clinical studies of the drug in a new formulation. In the laboratory, the drug has proven very encouraging for the future of colorectal cancer treatment.

    "The Terry Fox Research Institute is pleased to have contributed to the work ofinvestigators at the BC Cancer Agency to bring a novel way to deliver a drug to the point where it is ready to be tested in human clinical trials, and its commercial development will now be taken on by a biotechnology company. We are committed to building effective models for translational research in Canada and this announcement today moves us one step forward in achieving this goal," said TFRI President and Scientific Director Dr. Victor Ling. "For us, this is a good example of how we can make a difference. We look forward to the results of the Phase I trial."

    "The funding provided by TFRI enabled our research team to conduct important toxicology tests for this new formulation which have all gone very well to date. Further, with this funding we were able to leverage other investment in the project which enabled us to bring this drug to the point where it is today," commented Dr. Samuel Abraham, acting vice-president of research for the BC Cancer Agency.

    Project principal investigators Drs. Dawn Waterhouse, research scientist, experimental therapeutics, and Marcel Bally head, experimental therapeutics, led this project to determine the dose of Irinophore CTM that can be safely administered, and how it compares to the current standard-of-care drug for colorectal cancer, Irinotecan. We now have evidence in over 15 different models of cancer demonstrating substantial improvements in anti-cancer effects at Irinophore CTM doses that are equal to or less than Irinotecan, and Irinophore CTM is also tolerated much better in the animal studies," says an enthusiastic Dr. Bally. "Everything looks really good in terms of moving it forward in the clinic."

    Irinophore CTM is a nanomedicine which means its particles are especially tiny, designed to be 100 times smaller than a red blood cell. The drug molecules are encased in a liposome or fat "bubble" that protects the medicine until it reaches its destination, the cancerous tumour.

    It has been shown to release slowly into the tumour and kill off cancerous cells more effectively than the currently used Irinotecan. Research supported by the TFRI also led to a new and unexpected discovery - Irinophore CTM treatment makes the abnormal tumour blood vessels become more like normal blood vessels.

    "Another great potential benefit of this drug is that it doesn't appear to cause the gastro-intestinal side effects, sometimes fatal, that can be experienced with the drug currently used," says Dr. Karen Gelmon, medical oncologist, BC Cancer Agency and a project investigator. We need to confirm these findings in human studies, but at this time it looks very exciting."

    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 BC Cancer Agency

    The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. Visit www.bccancer.ca for more information. The BC Cancer Foundation (www.bccancerfoundation.com), raises funds to support research and enhancements to patient care at the BC Cancer Agency.

    For more information, contact:

    Kelly Curwin
    Chief Communications Officer
    604-675-8223
    kcurwin@tfri.ca

    Allison Colina
    BC Cancer Agency
    T: 604-877-6272
    C: 604-861-8079
    acolina@bccancer.bc.ca


    BC Cancer Agency Media Release: Locally developed cancer fighting drug moves one step closer to clinical trial
  • The Terry Fox New Frontiers Program in Cancer at CIHR

    by User Not Found | Feb 08, 2011
    This is to announce that the 2011 competition for the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program in Cancer will be launched in late March to mid April. The objective of the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant funding opportunity is to support Canadian research programs in cancer that explore new frontiers in cure-oriented research (i.e. breakthrough and transformative biomedical/translational research providing information which may form the basis for innovative cancer diagnosis and/or treatment).

    Deadline for submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI): July 1, 2011.

    Invitations to submit a full application by January 6, 2012 will be sent to successful applicants by September 30, 2011. Funding of grants from the 2011 competition will start July 1, 2012. The full description of the funding opportunity and instructions on how to apply will be posted on the CIHR web site. Please visit the ICR home page regularly to find out about the latest funding opportunities.

    The Terry Fox New Investigators Award (2011)

    The Terry Fox Research Institute is pleased to announce a new competition for Terry Fox New Investigators. The purpose of this award is to provide outstanding young researchers with support as they develop their career as independent research scientists or clinician scientists and to undertake high-quality research into cancer in close collaboration with established Terry Fox research teams. The full RFA is available online at Research Portfolio. Funding starts October 1st, 2011.

    Deadline for Application Summaries: Friday, April 1st, 2011
    Deadline for Full Applications: Wednesday, June 1st, 2011.
  • Terry Fox Foundation awards four promising new investigators with nearly $2 million

    by User Not Found | Dec 08, 2010
    Four new phenoms in BC and Ontario to further cancer research


    Three of four recipients of the TFF's New Investigator Awards, announced Dec. 8, are from British Columbia (l-r): Dr. Cathie Garnis, UBC/BC Cancer Agency; Dr. Amina Zoubeidi, UBC/Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH; and Dr. Ryan Brinkman, BC Cancer Agency/UBC. The fourth recipient is Dr. Uri Tabori (see inset photo), The Hospital for Sick Children/University of Toronto in Ontario.
    Vancouver, BC - Today, The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) announced funding of $1.8 million in career awards to four promising scientists under its New Investigator (NI) Awards program. Three researchers working in British Columbia and a fourth working in Ontario will receive the funds to further their quest to unravel the complexities of cancer.

    Their areas of focus are quite varied - from targeting molecular activity to halt progression of prostate cancer, to developing techniques for early detection of lung cancer, to developing software to enhance the identification and analysis of normal and malignant stem cells, to targeting and to investigating the mechanics of potential new therapeutics for brain cancer in children. All four researchers share a common goal to improve cancer outcomes.

    TFF has funded career awards for top new investigators for over three decades. The awards are highly competitive and recipients are determined by a review committee of international scientific experts. The annual competition draws applications from the nation's best new talent and awards are made to those applicants selected to be the most outstanding.

    "The caliber of the applicants competing for the TFF's New Investigator Awards was nothing short of spectacular," notes Dr. Victor Ling, president and scientific director of The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), which manages TFF's research investment.

    "New investigators are often at a disadvantage when they compete with seasoned scientists for research funding, so we have dedicated funding to support them as they conduct their investigations and establish themselves in the field of cancer research," Dr. Ling explains. "Often they are brimming with promising ideas for preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, but they lack the necessary funding, infrastructure and guidance to advance their work," he adds.

    Commencing this year, TFF has embedded a new, unique component into the Awards program: mentorship of young investigators by established scientists who are currently working on TFF and TFRI-funded projects. Each new investigator is linked to existing funded programs, and is supported by the principal investigators who have committed to mentoring the new researchers and integrating them into their research teams.

    "By pairing young stars with senior researchers, we are creating an environment for greater success," Dr. Ling says. "While the merit of the new investigator applications stand on their own, this unique award supports them by providing them with a productive and insightful environment provided by senior colleagues."

    Specifically, the $1.8 million in funding will support the work of three researchers in Vancouver and one in Toronto. They are:

    Note: Affiliation is by host research institute

    Dr. Ryan Brinkman, BC Cancer Agency/University of British Columbia
    Dr. Brinkman, an associate professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia and a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency's Terry Fox Laboratory, will receive $435,252 over the next three years to examine flow informatics approaches for the identification of normal and malignant stem cells. His work will aid in speeding up the diagnosis and prognosis of blood cancers. Mentoring Dr. Brinkman will be Principal Investigator Dr. Keith Humphries, a senior scientist at the Agency and professor of medicine at UBC, whose project - "Cell fate and control of normal and malignant stem cells" - has received a $5.1 million grant from TFF.

    Dr. Cathie Garnis, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine/BC Cancer Agency
    Dr. Garnis, an assistant professor with the Division of Otolaryngology in UBC Faculty of Medicine and a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency, will receive $450,000 over three years to identify and evaluate lung cancer markers that can be detected in the bloodstream and may be useful in early detection of lung cancer. The project is designed to develop simple, cost-effective blood tests for early diagnosis of lung cancer. Dr. Garnis project supports Co-Principal Investigator and mentor Dr. Stephen Lam's study - Early Detection of Lung Cancer: A Pan-Canadian Study, which will receive almost $7 million in funding over five years from TFRI and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Dr. Lam is a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and Chair, Provincial Lung Tumor Group, BC Cancer Agency.

    Dr. Amina Zoubeidi, University of British Columbia/The Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH
    An award of $449,964 will be given to Dr. Amina Zoubeidi, an assistant professor, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia and research scientist with the Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH, over the next three years for her project designed to determine if the expression of a protein - Lyn kinase - promotes prostate cancer progression. She will examine whether targeting the molecule for inhibition will halt progression of castration resistant prostate cancer and ultimately improve treatment. Mentoring Dr. Zoubeidi will be Principal Investigator Dr. Paul Rennie, a professor of urologic sciences at UBC and director of laboratory research, Vancouver Prostate Centre, whose prostate cancer progression project has received a TFF New Frontiers Program Grant for nearly $6.8 million.

    Dr. Uri Tabori, The Hospital for Sick Children / University of Toronto
    Dr. Uri Tabori, a staff physician in the Division of Haematology / Oncology and scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology Program at Sick Kids and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto, will receive $448,520 over three years to further his work in pediatric neuroblastoma and brain tumours. He will explore the exhaustion of tumour initiating cells by targeting their self-renewal capacity with telomerase inhibition. Tumour stem cell exhaustion may transform the treatment and survival for children with neural tumours and prevent relapse. Dr. Tabori's project is linked with Principal Investigator and mentor Dr. Rob Rottapel, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network, who leads the $23-million Ontario Institute for Cancer Research-Terry Fox Research Institute (OICR-TFRI) Selective Therapies Program.

    For additional information about the New Investigator awards and their associated TFF funded projects, please visit www.tfri.ca.

    About the Terry Fox Foundation
    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 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 45 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

    [ Media Backgrounder ]

    Media Contact
    Kelly Curwin
    Chief Communications Officer
    Terry Fox Research Institute
    604-675-8223
    kcurwin@tfri.ca
  • TFRI Launches Prairie Node on Thursday Dec. 2, 2010

    by User Not Found | Dec 02, 2010

    Better, more rapid outcomes sought for cancer patients

    Terry Fox Research Institute Launches Prairie Node in Partnership with Leading Cancer Care and Research Institutions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan


    Prairie Node Video


    Celebrating the launch of the Prairie Node in Winnipeg on Dec. 2 are (l-r): Betty Fox, Dr. Jim Davie, Rolly Fox, Dr. Victor Ling, Dr. Stewart McMillan, Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, Dr. Digvir Jayas and Christina Weise.
    Winnipeg, MB – The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) today launched its Prairie Node and announced Institute and partner investments of approximately $1.1 million over the next four years to support the node and the training of cancer researchers at cancer care and research organizations in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. TFRI is partnering with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba to form the TFRI Prairie Node. In addition, TFRI has signed agreements with the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC) to provide joint matching funds to build cancer research capacity within the two provinces.

    The total funding will support the operations of the "virtual" node and also lead to the creation of four Terry Fox post-doctoral fellowships supported by the TFRI and the SHRF, as well as three Terry Fox post-doctoral fellowships and five graduate studentships supported by the TFRI and the MHRC.

    "This total investment of approximately $1.1 million over the next four years within the two provinces will advance our mutual goals of improving outcomes for cancer patients through translational research as well as helping to build capacity in cancer research in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This is a great day for the citizens, researchers and future researchers of these two provinces," said TFRI president and scientific director Dr. Victor Ling. "Together we are helping to build a coherent, national approach towards rapidly improving cancer outcomes for patients. In partnering with TFRI, the Prairie Node is joining a pan-Canadian network of more than 45 leading and prestigious institutions across the country that are already TFRI partners in translational cancer research. "

    The Prairie Node is the final of six designated nodes (or hubs) that the Institute has established since its creation in October 2007 and the node's launch marks the completion of the Institute's goal of being fully pan-Canadian. Earlier this year, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, the Institute launched its Atlantic Node (representing the four Atlantic provinces) on April 12, 30 years from the day that Terry Fox set out from St. John's, Newfoundland to begin his run for cancer research.

    "We recall the anticipation and excitement as Manitoba and Saskatchewan readied to welcome Terry to their provinces just over 30 years ago," said Betty and Rolly Fox, parents of Terry Fox. "Since 1980 the residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have welcomed Terry and embraced his vision by supporting cancer research in his name. Today's launch of The Terry Fox Research Institute Prairie Node is an extension of this tremendous support."

    The Prairie announcement was made in Winnipeg on Dec. 2 where representatives from three of the five Prairie partner institutions are gathered for a two-day research symposium to discuss mutual research interests related to translational cancer research. The TFRI-sponsored symposium marks the first time cancer researchers from the University of Manitoba, CancerCare Manitoba, and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency have come together to discuss their respective research and explore opportunities to work together.

    The Prairie Node partners have signed Memorandas of Agreement with TFRI to jointly support research with the potential to improve understanding of cancer, its prevention, early detection and cure, as well as to build capacity in cancer research within the two Prairie provinces.

    "SHRF's partnership with TFRI is very important to Saskatchewan because it will build capacity in cancer research here and increase understanding of causes and possible cures for a disease that affects so many people in our province and country," said June Bold, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation.

    "We are pleased to be a partner in the new Prairie Node of the Terry Fox Research Institute," said Dr. Stewart McMillan, chair of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency Board. "Through this initiative, Saskatchewan researchers will have the opportunity to participate in and collaborate with other individuals toward making a real difference in the fight against cancer."

    "The Manitoba Health Research Council is delighted that the TFRI is the newest partner to provide funding and support for students here in Manitoba," said Christina Weise, executive director, Manitoba Health Research Council. This partnership with the TFRI will provide additional trainees with the momentum to further advance their research with the goal of improving the lives of Manitobans affected by cancer."

    "The University of Manitoba is excited to be part of the new Prairie research node of the Terry Fox Research Institute," said Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, vice-president (research) and distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba. "The partnership with the Institute, CancerCare Manitoba and our neighbours at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will ensure the best minds are working together in the fight against cancer to translate research discoveries more quickly into practice, to ultimately improve patient outcomes."

    "CancerCare Manitoba welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues through national research projects supported by the Terry Fox Research Institute," said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba. "Terry Fox has long been a symbol of what can be achieved against the adversity of a disease that impacts all of us, and today his legacy grows."

    Dr. James (Jim) Davie, a professor of biochemistry and medical genetics at the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, will serve as the Prairie Node leader, working with the partner institutions in the region and serving as a member of the TFRI national executive.

    About TFRI

    Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the brainchild of the Terry Fox Foundation. The institute 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 45 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. TFRI's headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

    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 Fox Works initiatives, National School Run Day, as well as via memoriam donations and planned gifts. 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 Foundation being created in 1988. Its national headquarters are located in Chilliwack, BC and it has offices in 9 provinces. www.terryfox.org

    About Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

    The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) funds the work of researchers, supports efforts that grow the province's research enterprise, and promotes knowledge borne of health research. Health research yields new knowledge, allows targeting of future areas of inquiry and building capacity to do much more. SHRF works as a catalyst, helping researchers establish careers and build capacity in areas where our province has a pressing need or can play to a particular strength.

    About Saskatchewan Cancer Agency

    The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is a not-for profit health care organization committed to providing patient/client and family centred care for all Saskatchewan residents. The Agency is responsible for cancer control and operates prevention and early detection programs, provides safe, quality cancer treatment and conducts innovative research. www.saskcancer.ca

    About Manitoba Health Research Council

    The mission of the Manitoba Health Research Council, which reports to the Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines, is to promote the growth and co-operation of the health research enterprise in Manitoba. The MHRC was established in 1982 and its mandate is to promote and assist basic, clinical and applied research in the health sciences in Manitoba and advise the minister with respect to matters relating to health research as the minister may refer to the council for its consideration. From moneys received from the Province, council provides funds for research in the health sciences through a number of grants and awards programs. For more information, visit: www.mhrc.mb.ca

    About Uof M

    The University of Manitoba is the only medical-doctoral post-secondary institution in the province and educates the majority of professionals in Manitoba. The U of M is a world leader in many research areas, including the search for a vaccine against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Visit us at: umanitoba.ca

    About Cancer Care Manitoba

    CancerCare Manitoba is charged by an act of the Manitoba legislature with responsibility for cancer prevention, detection, care, research and education for the people of Manitoba. As a centre of choice, we are dedicated to excellence in cancer care, to enhancing quality of life for those living with cancer and blood disorders, and to improving cancer control for all Manitobans. Visit us at www.cancercare.mb.ca

    For more information, contact:

    Kelly Curwin
    Chief Communications Officer
    Terry Fox Research Institute
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3
    Phone: (604)275-8223
    Cell: 778-237-8158
    kcurwin@tfri.ca

    June Bold, CEO
    Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation
    Phone: 306-975-1680
    www.shrf.ca

    Gladys Wasylenchuk
    Public Affairs
    Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
    Phone: (306) 791-2144
    Cell: (306) 501-7366
    gladys.wasylenchuk@saskcancer.ca

    Kristen Hooper
    Administrative Assistant
    Manitoba Health Research Council
    204-775-1096
    kristen.hooper@mhrc.mb.ca

    Janine Harasymchuk
    Manager, Research Communications & Marketing
    University of Manitoba
    Phone: (204) 474-7300
    Cell: (204) 799-4802
    Janine_Harasymchuk@umanitoba.ca

    Jackie Shymanski
    Director, Communications & Public Affairs
    CancerCare Manitoba
    Phone: (204) 787-1878
    jackie.shymanski@cancercare.mb.ca

    [ TFRI Prairie Node leader Dr. Jim Davie bio ]
  • The Terry Fox Foundation announces $14.8-million national investment in cancer research through new partnership

    by User Not Found | Sep 16, 2010

    TORONTO, ON - The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) today announced a national investment in cancer research totalling $14.8 million that will lead to new and innovative treatments for cancer patients. The TFF funding is being allocated to institutions and researchers in Ontario ($9.7 million), Quebec ($2 million) and British Columbia ($3.1 million). The announcement was made at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto this morning and falls during this, the 30th Anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.

    The Terry Fox Foundation is funding four major research programs through a new partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), titled the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grants Competition at CIHR. CIHR provided scientific expertise and peer review for the Foundation to identify the best projects to fund. The funding will support work in four specific areas of cancer research which will help to advance our knowledge of the disease and lead to more effective ways to diagnose and treat it:
    • improving ultrasound techniques for radiation therapy;
    • understanding how cancer spreads and how to reduce the side effects of treatment;
    • exploring and understanding the genetic aspects of rare cancers (forme fruste tumors) with the goal of diagnosing and treating these forms of cancer for which little is currently known; and
    • developing new ways to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment of childhood leukemia.
    "The Terry Fox Foundation is pleased to join with CIHR in announcing these substantial New Frontiers Program Project Grants which support novel, innovative and leading-edge discovery research by outstanding scientists working in teams across the country," said Dr. Victor Ling, president and scientific director of The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), which manages TFF's research investment. "Investing in excellent, peer-reviewed research has been a hallmark of TFF for three decades. Our new partnership with CIHR will ensure that TFF-funded research continues to be the best. We believe we are stronger when we work together - as partners and as scientists - and that this collaboration will help us to meet the challenges in finding cures for cancer."

    "By working with dedicated partners like The Terry Fox Foundation and The Terry Fox Research Institute, The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) can further its primary objective of making Canadians healthier by supporting excellence in research," said Dr. Morag Park, scientific director for the Institute of Cancer Research at CIHR. "These four projects will help develop pioneering and innovative techniques for identifying and treating cancer."

    The Terry Fox Foundation will be investing approximately $20 million in 2010-2011 for cure-oriented biomedical discovery research and $10 million for translational research through The Terry Fox Research Institute. 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.

    Following is a summary of The Terry Fox Foundation's investment allocation by province and institution:

    ONTARIO
    Researchers at two institutions in Toronto, Ontario will receive close to $9.7 million in funding, as follows:

    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Ultrasound for Cancer Therapy): Principal investigator Dr. Gregory Czarnota and team will receive $2,704,744 over three years for the Ultrasound for Cancer Therapy Project. The team seeks to change the face of conventional ultrasound to be used as functional imaging to improve and further tailor cancer treatment.

    Mount Sinai Hospital (CIHR Team in Genetic Analysis of Signaling Pathways for Vascular Development and Tumorigenesis): Principal investigator Dr. Andras Nagy and team will receive $6,988,175 over five years to study the processes behind the occurrence and spread of cancer as well as how to provide better treatments for cancer while reducing negative side effects. This group will explore how to prevent blood vessels from forming (to prevent tumors from growing) as well as how to improve the quality of blood vessels to enhance chemotherapy treatment. The team will also look at how blood vessels are formed and how cells communicate.

    QUEBEC
    Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, Montreal (Genomic Determinants of Childhood Leukemia): Principal investigator Dr. Daniel Sinnett and his team will receive $2,048,321 over three years to investigate Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. This disease is poorly understood and the team will focus on studying the genetic causes or factors involved in this cancer with the goal of developing clinical tools that could improve detection, diagnosis and treatment for it.

    BRITISH COLUMBIA
    University of British Columbia, Vancouver (CIHR Team in the Genomics of Forme Fruste Tumours: New Vistas in Cancer Biology and Management): Principal investigator Dr. David Huntsman and his team will receive $3,126,365 over three years to study the genetic aspects of rare cancers with the goal of identifying the defects and mutations responsible for these tumors. The team will study 12 forme fruste tumors using DNA sequencing technology which will yield new knowledge to provide more effective diagnostics and treatments for these diseases as well as cancer in general.

    For additional information, visit: click here.

    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. The 2010 Terry Fox Run will be held on September 19th, with the National School Run Day on September 30th.

    About CIHR
    For the past 10 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. 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 40 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
    kcurwin@tfri.ca
    778-237-8158

    David Coulombe
    Media Affairs
    Canadian Institutes of Health Research
    613-941-4563
    mediarelations@cihr.gc.ca

    Media Backgrounder on Funded Projects (English and French)
  • Genome sciences leader Dr. Marco Marra joins executive team of the Terry Fox Research Institute

    by User Not Found | Sep 08, 2010
    DR. MARCO MARRA
    Vancouver, BC - The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Marco Marra to the executive team of TFRI. Dr. Marra is director of Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at the BC Cancer Agency and a former holder of a Terry Fox Young Investigators Award (2004).

    He is a Distinguished Scientist with the BC Cancer Agency, a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, and an adjunct Professor of Molecular biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University. A full biographical sketch is attached. The BC Cancer Agency and UBC are among TFRI's 41 national partners.

    In his new role with the Terry Fox Research Institute, Dr. Marra will serve as TFRI's regional leader for the Province of BC. Dr. Marra replaces Dr. Clay Smith, who completed his term with TFRI in July 2010.

    Dr. Marra will work with cancer scientists and clinicians as well as the broader research and health care communities on initiatives related to translational cancer research. As a member of the Institute's executive team, he will work with the Institute's president and scientific director Dr. Victor Ling and five other regional leaders to foster pan-Canadian cancer research projects .

    He brings exceptional leadership skills and expertise in genomics to the Institute and will be a valued addition to the Institute's leadership team. Notably, he led the GSC team that successfully sequenced the SARS coronavirus genome.

    "Marco is an exceptionally bright and talented scientist and we are very fortunate to have him join us. He is one of the country's top scientists," said Dr. Ling. "His leadership and knowledge in genomics and large-scale and next-generation DNA sequencing will strengthen our capacity as an Institute to achieve our vision of moving discoveries more quickly from the laboratory into the clinic."

    "I am looking forward to being actively involved in the work of TFRI. The Institute's approach of using networking and team building to empower world-leading collaborative strengths in cancer research is compelling. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute in some way to help TFRI work towards these laudable aims," said Dr. Marra.

    Early in his scientific career, Dr. Marra has already amassed an impressive list of achievements and awards. In 2001 he was recognized by Caldwell Partners as one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" citizens and in 2005 was named the "Best of the Best of Canada's Top 40 under 40" in the health/science category. He is a 2010 recipient of the Order of British Columbia and the Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2007) and was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2009. He holds honorary degrees from SFU and the University of Calgary.
  • Terry Fox Research Institute Expands Early Detection Lung Study to Newfoundland & Labrador

    by User Not Found | Jun 23, 2010

    SITE AIMS TO RECRUIT 200 PARTICIPANTS

    St. John's- The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) today announced the expansion to Newfoundland & Labrador of a nationwide lung cancer detection study involving current and former smokers. Seven sites across Canada currently participate in the study and since its launch in September 2008, a total of 37 cancers have been found. To date, 2021 participants are enrolled in the national study, which is aimed at detecting and treating lung cancer earlier and through readily accessible and low-cost detection techniques.

    Organizers of the Newfoundland & Labrador study, to be based in St. John's, aim to recruit 200 participants over the next year. The study will be conducted in collaboration with health care and research partners at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Eastern Health, based at the Health Sciences Centre.

    "We are pleased to be a part of this national lung cancer detection study and know that many current and former smokers in the province will be interested in it as well. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada and around the world. This study is focused on early detection and treatment of lung cancer and has the potential to significantly reduce lung cancer mortality through relatively simple breath and blood tests. We're grateful to TFRI for expanding the study to Newfoundland and Labrador, and we believe it is of vital importance to improving survival rates from lung cancer both here and elsewhere in Canada," said Eastern Health radiologist Dr. Rick Bhatia, clinical associate professor of radiology at MUN, who will lead the site project and work with his colleagues in respiratory medicine.

    TFRI is providing $472,907 for the St. John's study, bringing the total invested in the Early Lung Cancer Detection Study to $7.16 million. The lung study is co-funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

    "We recently celebrated the launch of the Atlantic Node of the Terry Fox Research Institute in St. John's, Newfoundland in April 2010. Our investment in this study site signifies our commitment to help improve cancer outcomes for patients who live here. This is the first of what we hope will be many partnership initiatives with regional cancer research and health care communities here. This study is an international first and participants are helping to make history in cancer research," said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI president and scientific director.

    "The study recognizes the need to create a lung cancer detection program and infrastructure that is both timely and affordable within the Canadian health care system," says Dr. Heather Bryant, vice-president of cancer control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. "The study will give us important information on how to proceed with any eventual nationwide approach to the early detection and treatment of lung cancer."

    "We wish to express our sincere thanks to TFRI and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer for their investment in this important study that will help to increase the effectiveness and reach of lung cancer detection. Further, Memorial University of Newfoundland is pleased to participate in this pan-Canadian study," says Dr. Ray Gosine, vice-president (research) pro tempore, Memorial University of Newfoundland

    The made-in-Canada program has sites in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Quebec City and Halifax. It uses a unique combination of a questionnaire and tests of blood and breath to determine the effectiveness of these readily accessible and low-cost detection techniques for lung cancer as a first step in early detection, streaming those identified as being at higher risk to the costlier but more sensitive spiral CT and bronchoscopy.

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada and around the world, killing 20,000 in Canada* and 1.2 million worldwide. That is more than colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined. By 2020, it is projected that lung cancer will be the fifth highest killer among all diseases.**

    Current and former smokers between the age of 50 and 75 who are interested in participating are urged to call 709-777-7097 in St. John's. To contact other participating centres, please call 1-888-505-TFRI (8374).

    Media contacts:

    Kelly Curwin
    Chief Communications Officer
    Terry Fox Research Institute
    Vancouver, BC
    604-675-8223
    Mobile: 778-237-8158

    Lisa Marchitto
    Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
    Toronto, Ontario
    416-619-5782
    Mobile: 647-618-0436

    Sharon Gray Communications Coordinator, Health Sciences
    Memorial University of Newfoundland
    St. John's
    709-777-8397

    Deborah Collins
    Manager of Media Relations
    Eastern Health
    St. John's
    709-777-1339

    *Canadian Cancer Statistics 2008, Canadian Cancer Society
    ** Murray, CJ, Lopez AD. Alternative projectons of mortality and disability by cause 1990-2020: Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet 1997; 349: 1498-504.

    About the TFRI and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

    Founded and funded by the Terry Fox Foundation, the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), is a Canada-wide, not-for-profit institute with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia. It works in partnership with provincial cancer research and care organizations dedicated to ensuring today's best cancer science becomes tomorrow's affordable medicine. TFRI was established in October 2007 with funding from the Terry Fox Foundation.

    The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an independent organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for all Canadians. The Partnership brings together cancer survivors, patients and families, cancer experts and government representatives to work toward this aim. Its mandate is to be a driving force to achieve a focused approach, helping to prevent cancer, enhance the quality of life of those affected by the disease, decrease mortality and make cancer control more efficient.

    For more information view: Backgrounder-National Lung Cancer (PDF)
  • Excellence and Terry's story inspires inaugural TFRI poster award winner

    by User Not Found | Jun 21, 2010
    Daiana Becker-Santos (holding award) with fellow poster winners (l-r): Dr. Andrew Mungall, Michael Iacavos, and Dr. Andrew Fielding.
    Daiana Becker-Santos (holding award) with fellow poster winners (l-r): Dr. Andrew Mungall, Huang Huang, and Dr. Andrew Fielding.
    Four Terry Fox-funded trainees shared three spots for top honours for best poster presentations at the TFRI's 2nd annual scientific meeting in Vancouver May 13-15. It was the first time the competition was held, with over 60 posters submitted.

    First place went to graduate student Daiana Becker-Santos of the BC Cancer Research Centre and the Vancouver Prostate Centre for her presentation titled "ERG Overexpression Induces EMT in Prostatic Epithelial Cells in an Integrin-Linked Kinase-Dependent Manner."

    "It was a very rewarding experience to attend the Terry Fox Research Institute annual meeting, and to interact with scientists with diverse backgrounds who share the same enthusiasm for cancer research," said Becker-Santos. She was thrilled to present her work to top researchers and clinicians in the field and to get feedback from them. "I was also really impressed by the excellence of the research that was presented by the trainees during this meeting - which shows that the future of cancer research is very promising."

    With fellow researchers, and under the supervision of Dr. Shoukat Dedhar (Integrative Oncology, BC Cancer Research Centre) Santos is investigating the molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of aggressive prostate cancer. "We have made exciting discoveries about promising therapeutic targets that we hope will be translated into the clinic in the future. We certainly have challenges to face ahead, but we are all very motivated, especially by Terry's story, to continue to work on the fight for the cure."

    From the submissions, 12 presenters were selected to make short presentations to the full group who attended the meeting.

    "The judges and I were very pleased with the excellent quality of the posters and the presentations that were made," said TFRI president and scientific director Dr. Victor Ling. "Clearly, there is a lot of talent within this group and the work they are undertaking will not only help to keep Canada at the forefront of cancer research and innovation, but make a difference in our clinics and hospitals for the benefit of patients everywhere. TFRI is very pleased to recognize these outstanding young researchers."

    Graduate student Huang Huang of the University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Christine Allen) placed second with his presentation on "Multimodal Liposomes with Combined CT and Optical Imaging Capabilities for the Detection of Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma."

    Sharing third place were two other trainees from the BC Cancer Research Centre: Dr. Andrew Fielding ("A Critical Role of Integrin-Linked Kinase, ch-TOG and TACC3 in Centrosome Clustering in Cancer Cells"/ Dr. Shoukat Dedhar supervisor) and Dr. Andrew Mungall ("Recurrent DNA Mutations in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas Reveal Candidate Therapeutic Targets"/Dr. Marco Marra supervisor).

    Feeling both grateful and fortunate for a great working environment and for support from the Terry Fox Foundation, Santos says she was returning to the lab "even more inspired" to continue her research.
  • Improving Cancer Outcomes Through Translational Research Is Priority For New Terry Fox Research Institute Node and Atlantic Partners

    by User Not Found | Apr 12, 2010
    St. John's, Newfoundland - The Terry Fox Research Institute today announced the launch of a new partnership with cancer research, academic and health care organizations in the four Atlantic Provinces that will focus on translational research to help improve cancer outcomes for patients here. The announcement was made in St. John's today on the 30th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope.

    The six institutions and TFRI have agreed to work toward the common goal of improving cancer outcomes for citizens of Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They will work through a new "node" of the research institute. Atlantic Canada has the highest incidences of and mortality from cancer in the country. Translational research is a term used for moving discoveries quickly from the laboratory into the clinic for the benefit of cancer patients.

    "The launch of this node is important for many reasons, the most important being this represents an important step forward for us to work together to improve outcomes for cancer patients in Atlantic Canada. We look forward to, in the spirit of Terry Fox, a great partnership with the research and clinical communities in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island," says Dr. Victor, Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director.

    "Our government is pleased with the launch of a new Atlantic Node of the Terry Fox Research Institute," said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Health and Community Services. "Our government is committed to investing in cancer prevention and treatment, with the goal of preventing cancer and improving outcomes for those living with it. We recognize the opportunity today's announcement will present for both our province and all Atlantic Canadians. I commend the Fox family for their continued commitment to carrying out Terry's legacy by working to improve cancer outcomes throughout the country."

    The institutions that have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with TFRI to collaborate on translational cancer research projects are:
    • Memorial University of Newfoundland
    • Dalhousie University
    • University of New Brunswick
    • New Brunswick Cancer Network
    • Atlantic Cancer Research Institute
    • University of Prince Edward Island
    Representatives from the four Atlantic governments, partner institutions, researchers and health professionals, cancer survivors, and members of the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute gathered at the Terry Fox Monument near the site where Terry dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean.

    Terry's parents Betty and Rolly, brother Fred and sister Judi were also present.

    "From the very beginning, from this day forward 30 years ago, Terry challenged us all to work together to eradicate cancer. He would be so thankful and proud that we have continued to run and walk together. We are confident TFRI will build on 30 years of cancer research investment and the advances that have improved survival rates while reducing the suffering cancer causeS," said Betty Fox.

    The creation of an Atlantic Node is a significant milestone for the newly established Terry Fox Research Institute. Formed in 2007 with an investment of $50 million from the Terry Fox Foundation over five years, the Institute is focused on translational cancer research. This kind of research involves moving laboratory discoveries rapidly into the clinic and health centres where patients can benefit. While virtual and headquartered in Vancouver, the institute has now partnered with over 40 of the nation's top cancer research, academic and health care institutes and 175 scientists and clinicians from across the country.

    Halifax surgeon Dr. Michael Johnston of the QEII Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie University has been named Atlantic Node Leader. He will work with the research and clinical partners in all four provinces and serve on TFRI's executive.

    The morning launch announcement began a one-day Atlantic Summit hosted by TFRI and the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador that included a research symposium for Memorial University students and health care professionals about TFRI's research projects and an evening public dialogue on "Patient-Centred Care in a Personalized Treatment World." The dialogue included participants from all four Atlantic Provinces, including representatives for the MOU partners. The event was available via web cast to the region and will be available soon at www.tfri.ca

    In September 2008 TFRI launched the Early Detection Lung Cancer Study with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. To date it has recruited over 1,660 participants in the study and found 29 cases of cancer. (Note: TFRI will be expanding the seven-city study shortly to recruit and enroll participants in St. John's)

    For more information, contact:

    Kelly Curwin,
    TFRI Chief Communications Officer
    kcurwin@tfri.ca; mobile: 778-237-8158

    Tansy Mundon
    Director of Communications
    Department of Health and Community Services
    709-729-1377, 685-2646
    tansymundon@gov.nl.ca
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