The Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation/Sanofi-Aventis Research Innovation Award Announces 2011 Grant Winners

$126,000 to Seven Recipients: Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation sanofi-aventis Research Innovation Awards (CASARIA Awards)

OTTAWA, June 29, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Seven Canadian radiation oncologists will conduct novel research into new anticancer medicines and targeted radiation therapy focused on gastrointestinal or prostate cancer with support from sanofi-aventis Research Innovation Awards. A selection committee of members of the Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation (CROF) chose the 2011 recipients from a field of 34 applicants.

Dr. Laura Dawson, CASARIA Advisory Council Chair, states, "The number and high quality of the 34 proposals focusing on radiation research for prostate, colorectal, liver and esophageal cancers are indicators of the strong research ongoing across Canada related to radiation oncology."

Highlights of the 2011 research initiatives include:

  • Dr. Vikram Velker of London Regional Cancer Centre will conduct an international study to highlight variations in treatment planning for men requiring radiotherapy following surgery for prostate cancer, resulting in more standardized and effective treatment to maximize cure rates and minimize side effects.
  • Dr. Eric Vigneault of CHUQ Hôtel-Dieu de Québec will study and recommend the ultimate focal image-guided therapy to eradicate prostate cancer inside the gland, based on findings from FECh TEP/CT scans.
  • Dr. Michael Lock of London Regional Cancer Program will assess a new test that may be able to detect cancer cells that have escaped into the bloodstream of patients with liver cancer, enabling predictions about which patients would benefit from treatment that goes through the bloodstream, and identify those patients who can avoid toxic treatments.
  • Dr. Anne Koch of Princess Margaret Hospital will examine whether radiation combined with a PARP inhibitor, an anti-cancer agent which makes cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, may be a more effective approach to treating liver cancer.
  • Dr. Barbara Fisher of London Regional Cancer Program will conduct a study involving the use of preoperative imaging with 3T MRI and PET-CT scans to study tumour perfusion, lymph node status and downstaging of rectal cancers by preoperative chemoradiation.
  • Dr. Neil D'Souza, Radiation Therapist, of Odette Cancer Centre will develop a unique 'nomogram' (a predictive tool that can be used to help estimate the risk of cancer being progression-free after treatment, based on certain factors) for high-risk prostate cancer patients who require radiation treatment and long-term hormone therapy.
  • Dr. Robert Bristow of Princess Margaret Hospital will study prostate cancer cells and try to develop a new test that will search out the cells for rare cancer stem cells. These cells can be the basis of resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and a search and destroy approach may improve the chances for cure.

"The Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation is very pleased to be able to facilitate the award of these important grants, made possible by the generous support of sanofi-aventis," states Dr. John Hay, a member of the CROF Board. Full details of the $126,000 in financial awards are available in a separate chart, posted on the CROF web site: http://www.caro-acro.ca/Links/CROF.htm

"From detecting the early stages of gastrointestinal and prostate cancers, to evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments, this research will have a tangible impact on the lives of cancer patients and their families," says Hugh O'Neill, President and CEO of sanofi-aventis. "At sanofi-aventis we care about health and supporting projects such as this. It is how we can make a difference, both now and in the years to come. We are proud to be part of this initiative."

About the Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation (CROF)
The Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization, working with the public and the oncology community through a broad educational program to enhance public awareness of the crucial role radiation oncology in national cancer care. Through its support for professional education and scientific research in radiation medicine, CROF aims to provide Canadians with the highest standard of radiation treatment, with the ultimate goal of reducing the burden and suffering of all Canadians diagnosed with cancer. CROF web site: http://www.caro-acro.ca/Links/CROF.htm

About Sanofi
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada's biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

SOURCE CANADIAN RADIATION ONCOLOGY FOUNDATION (CROF)

For further information:

Judy McLarty, APR, 1.604.740.5839 or jamcla@telus.net

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CANADIAN RADIATION ONCOLOGY FOUNDATION (CROF)

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