Media backgrounder Innovation Grants

21 August 2013

Toronto -

Media backgrounder – Innovation Grants

The Innovation Grants program supports unconventional concepts, approaches or methodologies to address problems in cancer research. This is the fourth round of Innovation Grant funding which includes 37 new grants worth over $7 million in total. As competition for grant funding increases worldwide, peer review panels have become more conservative and risk-averse, emphasizing feasibility more than innovation. It is hoped this grant program will speed up innovation across entire cancer research system. 

Below are a few of the new Innovation Grants. A complete list is on cancer.ca.

Dr Kristin Campbell, Vancouver ($200,000) – It is broadly understood that there is a link between obesity and breast cancer risk after menopause. However, the biological reasons for this link are not clear. Dr Campbell’s team will recruit healthy women undergoing surgeries that are not related to breast cancer. This will be the first time objective measures are used to classify fitness levels of these patients based on aerobic tests and body fat measurements. The researchers will look for differences in cells within the breast tissue that can be linked to fitness levels.

Dr Maja Krajinovic, Montreal ($197,089) – MicroDNA is a newly discovered type of circular DNA in cells. It contributes to differences in genetics between people and between different types of cells. Dr Krajinovic’s project will use state-of-the-art tools to study how microDNAs affect the response of cancer to drugs used in childhood leukemia.

Dr Mani Larijani, St. John’s ($199,998) – Immune cells have an enzyme that makes antibodies more effective at fighting infection, but it can also mistakenly turn some immune cells into very aggressive leukemia and lymphomas and make cancers resistant to treatment. Drugs that block the enzyme could have a significant impact on cancer. Dr Larijani’s team will study the enzyme in detail to try to determine the critical parts of its structure so that treatments can be developed to block its harmful functions.

News release: What does cancer sound like? Futuristic device will use high-frequency sound waves to detect abnormal cells

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. We are the country’s largest, national charitable funder of cancer research. Together with our donors, we have contributed more than $1.2 billion to Canadian research programs. We work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. Visit cancer.ca or call us at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, please contact:

Brooke Kelly

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416-934-5321