Advancing colorectal cancer research

01 March 2016

It is estimated that 25,100 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2015, and 9,300 died from the disease. Today, 64% of Canadians diagnosed with colorectal cancer will survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis. More research is needed to find new colorectal cancer treatments and prevent the disease before it starts.

Canadian Cancer Society support of colorectal cancer research

Thanks to our donors, the Canadian Cancer Society is the largest national charitable funder of colorectal cancer research, having invested over $2.3 million through our Research Institute in 2015. This supported 29 lead investigators across Canada exploring the causes of colorectal cancer, new ways to detect and treat it, and new ways to improve the quality of life of those living with cancer.

The Society-funded Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is the only Canadian clinical trials group that studies all cancer types, with the ultimate goal of reducing the effects of cancer and improving survival. In 2015, 6 colorectal cancer clinical trials were active and involved 890 patients from cities across the country, including Victoria, Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, St Catharines, Barrie, Hamilton, Sherbrooke, Montreal, Laval, Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton and many others.

We’re making progress

Society-funded researchers continue to bring new insight and approaches to tackling colorectal cancer. In 2015 the Canadian Cancer Society supported key research findings, including:

  • Dr Daniel De Carvalho from the University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, showed that a drug could trick colorectal cancer cells into responding as if they had been infected with a virus, suppressing their ability to multiply.
  • Dr Will King from Queen’s University showed that people with certain genetic features are more susceptible to meat-derived carcinogens and risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Dr Jolie Ringash from the University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Society-funded Canadian Cancer Trials Group, found that while a combination of 2 drugs delayed progression of advanced colorectal cancer, patients’ quality of life deteriorated much faster.

We still have more to do

In 2015 the Canadian Cancer Society committed to fund 12 new research grants and awards to study colorectal cancer, representing $4.1 million in new funding (including $625,000 in partnership with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) for the next 5 years. These include:

  • Dr Alberto Martin from the University of Toronto is investigating how gut bacteria contribute to the development of colorectal cancer.
  • Dr Ivan Topisirovic from the Jewish General Hospital is mapping the energy metabolism of colorectal cancer cells to discover weak points that can be targeted by treatment.
  • Dr Mitsuhiko Ikura from the University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is studying how mutations in a protein called RAS drive tumours like colorectal cancer in order to identify new therapies.

Help us do more

Your donations make it possible for us to fund the most promising cancer research. Every dollar counts. Thank you to all of our donors, partners and supporters across the country!

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