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CCS Research Impact Grant

22 October 2018

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photo of PFH team holding cheque

We are excited to announce that the Peterborough and Durham Pedal For Hope Team will be funding a new four year impact grant through the Canadian Cancer Society.

The goal of the CCS Research Impact Grant program is to fund projects that will apply new knowledge to address problems in cancer research and have the potential for practical application.

The Canadian Cancer Society uses a scientific peer review process to determine which research projects will be funded. The aim is to ensure that the most original ideas, with the greatest scientific merit, obtain sufficient financial support to permit the ideas to be tested. Fellow scientists use a rigorous process to identify the applications which have the greatest potential for contributing to the reduction of the incidence and mortality from cancer. This process includes a peer review panel where the projects are discussed and debated at length.

One of the research projects that was debated included one that is the new Pedal For Hope Impact Grant from 2019-2022. Dr Torsten Nielsen was chosen by his peers to be funded as part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Impact Grant program.

Dr Nielson will receive $1 million over the next 4 years from the funds raised by Pedal For Hope. Dr Nielson is leading a large multidisciplinary team to tackle some of the biggest challenges in sarcoma research. Sarcomas are a group of over 50 types of cancer that grow in the fat, muscles, tendons and ligaments and most often affect teens and young adults. Due to the challenges of diagnosing and treating these tumours there is 50% mortality rate. Although surgery and radiation can cure half of the patients, chemotherapy will only work a for few types of sarcoma.

Dr Nielson and his team of researchers are developing a single comprehensive diagnostic tool as well as testing new targeted treatment therapies, including some that are showing promise in sarcomas that do not respond to other cancer treatment.

This research will give young Canadians new options and new hope.

In Dr Nielson’s own words:

"I'm leading a team of scientists and doctors working on a group of cancers called sarcomas that affect teenagers especially -- people who should have a long and active life ahead of them, and for whom we really need to do more than extend survival but really find cures that don't cause lifelong side effects. There is much to do, and for a lot of reasons these diseases haven't been getting as much research attention as more common kinds of cancers. That's frustrating because some recent scientific advances have pinpointed the specific mutations that cause some of these sarcomas, while also showing very few other mutations -- meaning we have targets to aim at which may have a higher chance of working to block cancer growth without causing many side effect on normal cells.

With the support from Pedal for Hope and from the Canadian Cancer Society, we are now getting the resources to make a serious, multipronged effort to find out exactly how these mutations cause sarcomas in young people, what we need to do to block that process, and develop new diagnostic tests and specific treatment options. We're also creating new opportunities for smart and motivated young people to learn skills in cancer research, training a new generation in how we can fight back against cancer."

We are very excited to be an important part of Dr Nielson’s research for the next 4 years and know that the money raised through the tours will have a significant impact on teens and young adults in Canada.


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 www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.