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$7.3 million for promising research in Quebec

In 2015-2016, the Canadian Cancer Society invested $7.3M in 87 research teams in Quebec, opening up many avenues to better understand, prevent and treat cancer.

Cancer research is essential to save more lives. This is the main reason why, the cancer survival rate has increased from around 25% since the 1940s to more than 60% today. Generous donors make it possible for the Canadian Cancer Society to be the national charity that funds the most cancer research in Canada. In 2015-2016, just in Quebec, 87 research teams supported by the Canadian Cancer Society studied the causes of cancer, its treatment and different ways of preventing the disease.

These research projects were selected through a rigorous and world-renowned peer review process. In a few words, top-notch researchers gather voluntarily to evaluate and rank grant applications. Only the most promising projects are selected. In spite of this, around half of the projects rated as a priority for funding cannot be supported for lack of funds.

Unveiling hidden cancer cells through immunotherapy

For example, Dr Subburaj Ilangumaran, of the Université de Sherbrooke, was supported by the Canadian Cancer Society from 2014 to 2016. The immunotherapy specialist has been working to make cancer cells visible to the immune system (link in French). Normally, your body’s defence system detects and destroys abnormal cells, including those that are cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer can learn to protect itself with a “cloak of invisibility”. It’s this cloak that Dr Ilangumaran and his team have been trying to pierce by studying the NLRC5 protein, which controls cells’ invisibility to the immune system.

The Canadian Cancer Society is also supporting the work of McGill University Health Centre’s Dr Janusz Rak. This researcher is developing a blood test to assess the effect of a patient’s age on the effectiveness of certain treatments used against kidney cancer. More specifically, Dr Rak and his team are examining how age acts on drugs that limit the growth of blood vessels to deprive tumours of oxygen and other vital nutrients.

All this research and more is made possible through the generosity of donors!