skip to main content

TFRI funded researchers are making a difference in all areas of cancer research, punching well above their weight in Canada and around the world. Here we highlight some of the most notable findings made by our teams.

  • In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a new classification system for brain tumours partially based on work by TFRI-funded researcher Dr. Michael Taylor. This classification was made possible thanks to patients like Taylor Date, who donated tumour samples to help Dr. Taylor discover molecular subgroups for medulloblastoma, for the most common type of pediatric brain cancer. This new classification forms the basis for the standard of care in many cancer centres and is helping to personalize treatments for children diagnosed with this cancer, increasing chances of survival while reducing long-term side effects associated with aggressive treatments. 
  • Patients with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS), a rare genetic disorder that causes almost all those affected to develop cancer at one point or another of their lives, have more chances of catching cancers earlier thanks to a new early-detection protocol developed by Dr. David Malkin’s team in Toronto. This new surveillance protocol, which significantly improves outcomes for patients with LFS, is now practiced globally and is in the new NCCN guidelines.
  • TFRI’s pan-Canadian lung study team led by Dr. Stephen Lam developed a predictive model for detecting lung cancer in early stages when the disease has a greater potential to be curable. Their early detection model could be considered for use in lung cancer screening programs in both Canada and around the world and outperformed others as a superior tool for saving more lives of lung cancer patients like Debi Lascelle.
  • Our oncolytic virus team based in Ottawa and led by Dr. John Bell launched two human clinical trials evaluating the maraba oncolytic virus platform
  • Dr. John Dick’s team at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has found a way to predict if leukemia patients will respond to standard treatment or not with the development of a novel, 17-gene signature test from leukemia stem cells. His team has also developed a genetic test that can predict if healthy people will develop an aggressive form of leukemia and has also identified two distinct cancer stem cell populations that can lead to relapse in AML.  
  • Terry Fox’s PROFYLE study is providing hope to children who are out of treatment options and the study has both saved lives and extended survival for patients enrolled. More than 100 patients from across the country are involved in the program which sequences each child’s tumour with the goal of identifying new treatment options.

Our First Decade of Achievements, 2007-2018


  • TFRI Launches in October
  • National Biomarker Workshop is held (leads to several funded studies)


  • Lung, Ovarian, Oral, Prostate Translational Programs Launch
  • TFRI’s mission expands to include discovery research on dissolution of National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC)
  • TFF co-invests in Strategic Research Training Program with Canadian Institute of Cancer Research


  • TFRI launches New Investigator Program; holds Biomarker Validation Workshop
  • TFRI holds public dialogues across Canada to build awareness of translational research and precision/personalized medicine


  • TFRI launches pediatric brain cancer study (MAGIC) with Genome Canada
  • TFRI partners with Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick for trainee programs


  • TFRI launches GBM and colorectal studies (C4) in partnership with others


  • Canada-Taiwan project launches in partnership with NSC in Taiwan
  • Lung Lesion Nodule Calculator is published by Lung Study
  • TFRI takes over administration of PPGs (from CIHR and CCS)


  • TFRI expands international peer review to PPG programs;
  • New TFRI web site launches


  • TFRI holds Annual Scientific Meeting in St. John’s;
  • Partnerships with RubanRose allowed TFRI to fund a record number of PPGs (4); and with FRQS and BCCR to fund 6 NIs
  • Institute begins work on Cancer Centres Network


  • Translational programs for pediatric cancer (PROFYLE) and immunotherapy (Immunotherapy Network) are launched
  • TFRI launches its Links newsletter to highlight scientific advances


  • TFRI celebrates its 10th Anniversary at ASM
  • TFRI launches BC-ON Cancer Centres pilot
  • Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network brand is created



  • TFRI launches translational program in pancreatic cancer (EPPIC)
  • TFRI launches Montreal Cancer Consortium (MCC) pilot
  • Federal Government announces that it will invest up to $150M over five years to help create the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network
  • TFRI Refreshes its visual identity with new logo and website.
  • TFRI and its national and regional partners launch of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network in St. John's, N.L., at the same place and on the same date as Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope 39 years earlier.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announces an investment of $49M to the Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia to help create the Digital Health and Discovery Platform, the artificial intelligence platform that will empower the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network


  • TFRI News|October 16, 2019

    An Update from our President

    TFRI President and Scientific Director, Dr. Victor Ling, provides an update on how we're progressing in our efforts to make the Marathon of Hope Cance...