Four leading BC researchers receive close to $2 million from the Canadian Cancer Society

25 May 2011

Vancouver -

Studies looking at anticancer drugs from the ocean to preventative health care among adult cancer survivors are among four research projects being funded by the Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon today.

"With these new projects, the Canadian Cancer Society continues to support a vibrant research community that is seeking ways to reduce cancer risk, reduce cancer deaths and improve the quality of life of those living with cancer," says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon. "We are very grateful to our generous British Columbia and Yukon donors for making the research possible."

The four grants worth $1.668 million are part of 52 new research projects worth more than $21 million announced by the Society. The projects cover a broad spectrum of cancer research from risk reduction to genetic studies to drug development and palliative care.

Research is one of the three pillars the Canadian Cancer Society focuses on. The Society also provides support services to those on a cancer journey and their families and leads the way in cancer prevention.

The 2011 research grant recipients include:

Dr. Raymond Andersen, UBC ($420,527)

Many common drugs have come from nature and Dr Andersen's study looks to the world's oceans as a resource for new, naturally occurring anti cancer substances. The goal of this project is to discover new organic compounds that are present in marine invertebrates and microorganisms to develop new drug treatments for cancer, with a particular focus on advanced stage prostate cancer.

"The ocean is a rich and diverse source of inspiration for cancer treatment," says Dr Andersen, an organic chemist at the University of British Columbia. "Our goal is to harness their power to create better and safer drug treatments for cancer patients. This is a young field of research with a lot of promise."

Dr. Lawrence McIntosh, UBC ($392,839)

Using a powerful technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Dr McIntosh is studying the structure of several proteins - ETS factors - that are part of the molecular machines that read the genes encoded within DNA. The project will examine how ETS factors work in normal cells and why cancers result when they are modified with the ultimate goal of developing new diagnostic tests and drug targets.

Dr. Winson Cheung, BC Cancer Agency ($423, 000)

With improvements in cancer survival rates there are a growing number of cancer survivors, many of whom will become longâ€'term survivors facing new risks related to their health such as heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis. Using large databases in B.C. that contain information about cancer, medical procedures, doctors visits and medication use, Dr Cheung is leading the first large-scale study of its kind to investigate whether adult cancer survivors are receiving appropriate preventive care. The results of this work will inform the development of future health policies and programs.

Dr. Gang Li, UBC ($423, 000)

The role of ING tumour suppressors in nucleotide excision repair

Dr Li's research team is investigating the molecular mechanisms that help to repair DNA after it has been damaged by ultraviolet light (UV), a key risk factor for skin cancer. Their study will look at how  growth-inhibiting proteins work together to repair DNA, influence the body's ability to recognize UV-damaged  DNA and how they facilitate the ability of repair proteins to do their job.


The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Catherine Loiacono

Manager, Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 604-675-7340