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TFRI News | January 16, 2020

From the President’s Desk: An update on the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network

We are looking forward to an exciting year at TFRI working with our 95+ partners across the country. Our focus is on advancing our new national program of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network and, at the same time, delivering on the excellence that is a hallmark of TFRI through our New Investigator, New Frontiers Program Project Grant (PPG) and Translational programs. All these initiatives are important to us.

For TFRI 2020 will also mean a lot of growth and change as we ramp up to operationalize the network, designate cancer centres, launch pilot projects in the Prairie and Atlantic regions, determine data priorities for our new Digital Health and Discovery Program, and work with our funders and partners on the management and administration of these new initiatives. The creation of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network completes our virtuous cycle of discovery, translation, innovation and application.


Many of you already know the purpose of this new network: to build collaborations, and support teams to link, share, and analyze data from cancer patients and their precision medicine treatments. Our goal during the first five years is to create an initial pan-Canadian cohort of 15,000 (eventually 100,000) fully annotated cancer cases (a gold cohort) and follow their precision medicine treatments.

This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope. We expect to designate centres in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec during this milestone year. This designation will give a special status to centres, promote collaboration and linkages to improve patient outcomes, and bring partners together to brand centres as Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres. It opens up many opportunities for all of us to collaborate on our shared vision and to move closer to Terry’s goal of ending cancer and the pain it causes!

In the coming months, we will be working with our foundation and our partners and their foundations to determine ways to fundraise to provide the necessary match for the federal funding ($150-million to be provided by the Government of Canada over the next five years).

My hearty congratulations to our partners in the Prairie Consortium on the success of their pilot project application, which brings together researchers in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 

Our agreement for the Digital Health and Discovery Platform financed by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Development ($49 million) will shortly be finalized. The Marathon of Hope agreement with Health Canada is expected to be completed soon after.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as these exciting new initiatives move ahead. We all look forward to a great 2020 and 40th Anniversary of the Marathon of Hope.


Dr Victor Ling, O.C., O.B.C. PhD

President and Scientific Director