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Press Release | April 11, 2019

Cancer centres and researchers in Atlantic Canada join forces to provide precision medicine for cancer patients across region

For images, videos, backgrounders and more information on the launch of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network, please visit:

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (FRIDAY, APRIL 12TH, 2019) – For the first time, leading cancer centres, hospitals and researchers in Atlantic Canada are coming together to help deliver personalized and precision medicine to cancer patients across the region.

The group, known as the Atlantic Cancer Consortium (ACC), is comprised of about 40 researchers and clinicians from institutions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and hopes to join the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network, a national initiative launched today by the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) in St. John’s, N.L.

Representatives from the three provinces participated in the launch event in St. John’s. The consortium will make an application to the national network next month for funding to launch a pilot project focused on colorectal and lung cancers, the two most prevalent cancers in the region. 

“The same way that Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope united a nation by inspiring local communities across the country, the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network will unite Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast by bringing together local and regional partners to work together on projects that will provide new hope for cancer patients in their regions and across Canada,” said Dr. Victor Ling, the TFRI’s president and scientific director.

With seed funding of $150M from the Government of Canada, the new national network will create linkages between researchers and institutions across Canada, enabling a team of dedicated cancer researchers to share knowledge, harness technology and champion collaboration. Partners to the network will be contributing matching funds.

“This is a new era for cancer research backed by precision medicine and we’re proud to be working towards finalizing our role as a galvanizing force behind the creation of this collaborative network,” said Dr. Sherri Christian, a biochemist at Memorial University of Newfoundland who is leading the regional effort. “Our hope is to be able to officially launch the ACC later this year and to join the national Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network soon after.”

When it is officially launched, the ACC will become one of several regional and cross-country consortia that make up the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network. It will join the Montreal Cancer Consortium in Quebec and the BC-Ontario Pilot Project, which are already functioning, as well as the Prairies Cancer Consortium, which hopes to become operational later this year.

These regional consortia will then plug into the national Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network to ensure that precision medicine is available to every Canadian, no matter where they live.

“By forming the ACC and joining the national Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network we hope that every cancer patient in our region will have access to the right treatment at the right time for their particular type of cancer,” said Dr. Michael Johnston, TFRI Atlantic node leader, professor of surgery at Dalhousie University and former director of the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute.

“This is a gamechanger for cancer research and care in our region,” said Dr. Rodney Ouellette, president and scientific director of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute and a founding member of the Terry Fox Research Institute. “It will help make precision medicine a reality across the region and will hopefully allow us to see an improvement in survival rates and quality of life for all our patients.”




The Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network is the realization of a long-standing vision of the Terry Fox Research Institute. Inspired by Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, the network represents a powerful collaborative platform that will close the gap between research in the lab and patient care in the clinic. Just as Terry Fox united Canadians with his run and dream to end cancer, the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network will unite cancer researchers to pursue that same goal with precision medicine. 


The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), established in 2008, invests in world-class, collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships. Together with its research and funding partners, TFRI is working to inspire the transformation of cancer research in this country by bringing together leading cancer research and treatment organizations in Canada and empowering them under the framework of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network.


In Newfoundland and Labrador
Kelly Foss
Communications Advisor
Faculty of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Phone: 709 864 2019
Cel: 709 699 3788

In Nova Scotia
Jennifer Lewandowski
Communications Agent
Dalhousie University
Phone: (902) 494-2961

In New Brunswick
Nadine Martin,
Communications Agent
Atlantic Cancer Research Institute
Phone: (506) 862-7551 

Peter Mothe
Communications Specialist,
Terry Fox Research Institute
Phone: +1(604)675-8000 ext. 7630
Cel: (604)773-2827