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TFRI News | December 02, 2010

TFRI Launches Prairie Node on Thursday Dec. 2, 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.

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.

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.

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:

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:

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

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

June Bold, CEO
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation
Phone: 306-975-1680

Gladys Wasylenchuk
Public Affairs
Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Phone: (306) 791-2144
Cell: (306) 501-7366

Kristen Hooper
Administrative Assistant
Manitoba Health Research Council

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

Jackie Shymanski
Director, Communications & Public Affairs
CancerCare Manitoba
Phone: (204) 787-1878

[ TFRI Prairie Node leader Dr. Jim Davie bio ]