London Researchers Making Progress in the Fight Against Cancer

Canadian Cancer Society invests in innovative local research

LONDON, ON, May 5 /CNW/ - Three London scientists are receiving new funding from the Canadian Cancer Society for their work in innovative cancer research.

"It's exciting that local researchers, like Dr. Eugene Wong, were successful in this year's national grant competition considering the research funding success rate was only 15%," says Angie Woodcock, Manager, Elgin-Middlesex Unit, Canadian Cancer Society. "This is a huge accomplishment and important for this community because this team's past Society-funded research has already made a difference in the lives of cancer patients in the London area."

Dr. Wong's previous research has already impacted more than 60 prostate cancer patients in the London area who were treated with a new individualized radiation technique as part of a clinical trial. Dr. Wong's team is actively translating this technique so it can be used more routinely for people with prostate cancer and other cancers.

With his new funding ($331,833), Dr. Wong and a team of radiation oncologists and imaging scientists at the London Regional Cancer Centre plan to continue improving radiation therapy by studying techniques that allow doctors to see how much blood flows through a tumour and use this information to better guide cancer treatment. This research will help to individualize radiation treatment based on the specific biology of the tumour as indicated by its blood supply.

"My hope is that by combining past and present research efforts, we will be able to further maximize tumour control and minimize toxicities from radiation, improving the quality of life for all patients that are going to receive radiotherapy," says Dr. Wong.

Other successful London scientists

Dr. John Lewis at the Lawson Health Research Institute is investigating a protein called CD151, which plays a key role in the ability of cancer cells to spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Through studying the molecular basis of this protein and others involved in the spread of cancer, Dr. Lewis hopes that this research could lead to new therapies that prevent cancer from metastasizing.

Since metastasis is responsible for the deaths of 90% of people with cancer, this study has the potential to have an important impact on patients' outcomes. Dr. Lewis is receiving $389,667 for this project.

In London, 150 cancer patients have been involved in this project, having donated their tissue to be screened for the CD151 protein.

Dr. Shawn Li at the University of Western Ontario is targeting Numb, a protein that has multiple functions regulating cell growth and behaviour and can contribute to cancer onset and development. This project will build on existing knowledge about the mechanisms behind Numb's role in cancer development and may lead to the identification of potential targets for new treatments. Dr. Li is receiving $410,688.

"It's thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we are able to contribute new funding to promising research that will impact people with cancer and is led by top-notch scientists dedicated to outsmarting this disease," says Heather Wright, Southwestern Regional Representative, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division Board of Directors.

This investment in excellent cancer research helps further the Canadian Cancer Society's mission to eradicate cancer and improve the lives of people living with cancer.

The London research grants were three of 66 new research grants across the country worth $24 million announced today by the Canadian Cancer Society. In the past six years, researchers in London have received close to $6 million in Society research funding.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to fightback.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Christine Koserski, Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division: (416) 323-7030 or ckoserski@ontario.cancer.ca

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Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

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