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Press Release | September 16, 2010

The Terry Fox Foundation announces $14.8-million national investment in cancer research through new partnership

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:

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.

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.

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. 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.

For more information, contact:

Kelly Curwin
The Terry Fox Research Institute
Vancouver BC

David Coulombe
Media Affairs
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Media Backgrounder on Funded Projects (English and French)