GivingTuesday offers chance to fund avant-garde approach to cancer research

21 November 2016

Toronto -

Some of Canada’s most innovative cancer researchers are thinking way outside the box by exploring high-risk, high-reward ideas that could transform the way we understand cancer and save more lives. In what has become an annual tradition, the Canadian Cancer Society is challenging Canadians to support these pioneering scientists as part of GivingTuesday, which marks the start of the holiday giving season and rallies people to support their favourite causes and think about others.

This year, the Society’s GivingTuesday campaign includes an added twist – the ability for donors to vote for the cancer researcher they think should win the honour of receiving the $200,000 Great Canadian Innovation Grant.

Part of the Society’s overall investment in cancer research, the Innovation Grants program supports scientists who are taking unconventional approaches in the hope of making unexpected discoveries that could change the way we prevent, diagnose or treat cancer.

Last year, Dr Marco Magalhaes of the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, was awarded the Great Canadian Innovation Grant to develop a new test to detect oral cancer early and determine which precancerous lesions will develop into cancer.

The Society has nominated three worthy research projects for this year’s Great Canadian Innovation Grant. All three projects were identified as some of the most promising cancer research in Canada through the charity’s expert peer-review process. Donors can vote for their top choice from November 22 to 29. The winner will be announced in early December.

The scientists vying for this year’s Great Canadian Innovation Grant are:

  • The University of British Columbia’s Dr Philipp Lange who is exploring unique proteins in childhood leukemia with the goal of improving treatments, and reducing side effects and long-term health issues in these children.
  • The University of Toronto’s Dr Sachdev Sidhu who is looking to help patients suffering from chemotherapy-related anemia by developing an artificial molecule that increases red blood cell production.
  • Université de Montréal’s Dr Jacques Thibodeau who is exploring the link between obesity, inflammation and liver cancer by studying an enzyme that could shed light on new ways to prevent and treat this disease.

“Innovation grants are high-risk, high-reward projects with the potential to significantly advance our progress against cancer,” says Dr Michael Wortzman, Assistant Director of Research Programs for the Canadian Cancer Society. “I look forward to seeing which of these projects excite Canadians the most.”

Due to the country’s growing and aging population, the Canadian Cancer Society predicts that the number of new cancer cases in Canada will rise dramatically in the next 15 years. This will increase the need for life-saving research and the charity relies on the generous support of Canadians to fund this work. To make a donation and vote for your choice for the Great Canadian Innovation Grant, please visit:

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society funds the best cancer research in Canada thanks to our generous donors and our rigorous peer-review process. We are the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada, funding hundreds of researchers in universities, hospitals and research centres. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, contact:

Camille Beaubien

Senior Manager, Communications

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416-323-7181