Canadian Cancer Society announces $1.7 million towards cancer research in Ottawa

25 March 2014

Ottawa -

The Canadian Cancer Society has awarded three Ottawa researchers a total of $1.7 million in grants to support innovation in treatment and quality of life for cancer survivors. Dr Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division was in town to announce the new funding.

Dr John Bell, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa professor received the largest grant, an Impact Grant totalling $1.2 million over the next five years for his research to tailor the use of cancer-fighting viruses for pancreatic cancer, a hard-to-treat cancer that has a low survival rate. A world leader in oncolytic viruses, Dr Bell’s work has the potential to result in a highly targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer which could result in fewer side effects than current standard treatments.

Dr Andrew Makrigiannis, with the University of Ottawa, received an Innovation Grant for more than $185,000 to study whether the immune system has a role in breast cancer development. This research will be conducted over the next two years and has the potential to lead to new ways of determining the prognosis of patients with breast cancer and could lead to new treatment options based on boosting the immune system.

Dr Sophie Lebel from the University of Ottawa, along with co-principal investigator Dr Christine Maheu of McGill University received a Quality of Life Research Grant totalling $300,000. In the next three years, Drs Lebel and Maheu will test whether group therapy will help address the fear of recurrence in women diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancers.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is the country’s largest charitable funder of cancer research and we know that research is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against this disease,” says Dr Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “The Society has invested $18 million in cancer research in Ottawa in the last 15 years. With this new funding, we are continuing our support of the world-class cancer research in Ottawa.”

The announcement of the three grants takes the total number of Society-funded researchers currently in Ottawa to thirteen:

  • Five at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Six at University of Ottawa
  • Two at CHEO

2013 cancer statistics:

  • An estimated 4,700 people in Canada were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013 and 4,300 people died of the disease. The five-year relative survival of pancreatic cancer is only 8%.
  • An estimated 23,800 women in Canada were diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,000 died of the disease in 2013. The five-year relative survival of breast cancer is 88% and death rate for the disease has declined over 40% since the mid-1980s.
  • An estimated 9,650 women were diagnosed with uterine, ovarian and cervical cancers in 2013 and 2,970 died of these types of cancer. The five-year relative survival of gynecological cancers varies; for uterine cancer, survival is 85%, cervical cancer survival is 74% and ovarian cancer survival is 45%.

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