Canadian Cancer Society overwhelmed by support for GivingTuesday campaign

03 December 2014

Toronto -

Last week, in the run up to GivingTuesday, the Canadian Cancer Society announced it sought to raise $200,000 to establish the Great Canadian Innovation Grant – a high-risk, high-reward, cancer research project. Today, Canada’s leading cancer charity announced the target has been surpassed through online donations.

“For GivingTuesday this year, we wanted to do something new by establishing the Great Canadian Innovation Grant and setting a fundraising goal of $200,000”, said Mike Kirkpatrick, Director of Marketing for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario. “We thought this would be an innovative way to engage Canadians directly in cancer research. We are thrilled to report that Canadians dug deep in response and everyone who donated to make this grant possible can feel proud of the opportunity they are creating for the research community.”

The Society will follow up with those who donated to fund the Great Canadian Innovation Grant, so they know exactly how their donation was spent and the impact that they will have in the fight against cancer. The specific project that will be funded by this grant will be announced early in the new year.

The Great Canadian Innovation Grant will be selected from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Innovation Grant program, which was created to support innovative, creative problem solving in cancer research. Successful projects may be based on high risk ideas, but will have the potential for high reward to significantly impact our understanding of cancer and generate new approaches to combat the disease by introducing novel ideas into use or practice.

“As competition for grant funding increases, peer review panels become more conservative and risk-averse, emphasizing feasibility more than innovation,” said Dr Siân Bevan, Director of Research at the Canadian Cancer Society “The goal of our program is to support unconventional concepts or approaches to address persistent problems in cancer research.”

Examples of Canadian Cancer Society Innovation Grants

Street-view mapping of the colon – Researchers have developed an innovative solution to the difficult problem of looking deep within the human colon for signs of cancer. It is “street-view” mapping – the same way Google does it – using cameras to take pictures in every direction.  Unlike conventional colonoscopy, which only looks straight ahead, this new method can give a panoramic view of the colon and help to identify the exact locations of suspicious growths or lesions.

Fluorescent poop – Researchers are working on what could become a cheap, simple, accurate and non-invasive test for colorectal cancer. They plan to develop fluorescent DNAzymes that will have the ability to detect cancer markers in stool samples. If cancer is detected, the molecules will light up or glow, leading to early treatment and better outcomes for patients.

The sound of cancer – A physicist is developing a cancer-detecting device resembling the fictional “tricorder” used in StarTrek. The futuristic photo-acoustic instrument will use high frequency sound waves that are highly sensitive to the size, shape and microstructure of cells. By passing the device over a patient’s body, doctors may be able to detect cancer cells in the blood because of the different sounds cancer cells make.

Feed a tumour, stop it from spreading? – A cardiologist is turning cancer research on its head by proposing that increasing the blood supply to a tumour (in effect, feeding the tumour) could actually prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Previous research had suggested a more intuitive route – that starving a tumour of its blood supply could prevent it from spreading. However, that method (known as anti-angiogenesis) has shown limited success to date.

The Canadian Cancer Society wishes to thank all those who generously supported the Great Canadian Innovation Grant. The Society is immensely grateful to all its donors and hopes Canadians will continue to be generous throughout the holiday season and beyond. To make a donation online, please visit cancer.ca.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934). Make your gift today at cancer.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Rosie Hales

Communications Specialist

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416 934-5338