New funding for hard-to-treat cancer research

22 July 2019

funding the best cancer researchThe Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research, investing in groundbreaking science across the entire cancer experience. This gives us a valuable sightline on all aspects of the cancer landscape and allows us to translate key learnings from one area of focus to another. Our most recent round of research funding saw us investing over $14 million to fund a total of 50 innovative research grants, including the following projects that focus on some of the hardest to treat cancers.

Improving immunotherapy for ovarian cancer

Immunotherapies have yielded disappointing results thus far in treating the most common and deadly type of ovarian cancer. With the support of a CCS Innovation Grant, Dr Mark Brockman and his team at Simon Fraser University are undertaking a comprehensive study of immune cells that can recognize and attack ovarian tumours. They will catalog the diversity and frequency of these tumour-targeting immune cells and look at how these cell populations change during treatment and disease progression. By identifying which immune cells can target ovarian tumours and when they are most abundant, Dr Brockman’s work will help to optimize the design and delivery of new immunotherapies for this disease.

New biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer

One of the reasons why pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers is because it is often diagnosed too late. There is currently no screening program for early detection of pancreatic cancer. With the support of a CCS Innovation Grant, Dr Yingfu Li and his team at McMaster University are pursuing an unconventional approach to find new markers of pancreatic cancer in the blood. To do this, they will compare the blood of people with pancreatic cancer with blood from healthy people and people with other types of cancer. The researchers’ goal is to find markers that are sensitive and specific enough to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, so that treatments will be more successful and more people with the disease will live longer, fuller lives.

Improving treatments for ovarian and breast cancers

Roughly half of ovarian cancers and 1 in 5 breast cancers have defects in 2 well-known cancer-related proteins called BRCA1 and BRCA2. With the support of a CCS Innovation to Impact Grant, Dr Razqallah Hakem and his team at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre are working to find new drug targets for these types of ovarian and breast cancers. They are focusing on 2 proteins which, when blocked, leads to the death of aggressive ovarian and breast cancer cells. The researchers will also examine whether therapies targeting these 2 proteins can be exploited to make existing drugs more effective. This work could lead to new treatment options that extend the lives of women with ovarian and breast cancers.

It is thanks to our donors that we’re able to fund groundbreaking research across the country. Donate today to help us continue funding the best cancer research.