Hamilton researchers awarded more than $1.5 million by Canadian Cancer Society

New grants among 52 across the country

HAMILTON, ON, May 2 /CNW/ - Three cancer studies led by Hamilton researchers are among 52 new research projects worth close to $22 million announced by the Canadian Cancer Society.

"We are very proud to support the innovative and ground-breaking research taking place in Hamilton and across the province," said Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. "We are grateful to the generosity and efforts of our donors and volunteers who make this research possible."

The new grants were announced at McMaster University on April 27.

"At McMaster we see our role as taking part in a relay for life," said Fiona McNeill, associate vice-president, research and international affairs of McMaster University. "We take the baton of generous support from the Canadian Cancer Society, its donors and volunteers; and our scientists develop innovative advances towards cancer cures and better care that that can be passed on to patients and their families. This is very much appreciated."

McMaster researchers receiving new funding from the Canadian Cancer Society are:

Dr. Mick Bhatia $423,000
Mick Bhatia's lab continues its groundbreaking research turning adult skin into human stem cells to generate different types of blood cells. This study aims to identify the molecules required for "reprogramming" these cells, focusing on the Gli3 gene that works through the "Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Pathway". The goal is to create an unlimited source of blood for cancer patients requiring bone marrow transplants to fight the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Bhatia is a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster and director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

Dr. Hsien Seow $671,615
Research by Hsien Seow has shown that end-of-life cancer patients in Ontario who received more homecare nursing hours were less likely to require hospital visits. This project will extend this research to three more provinces, investigate the effect of more homecare nursing hours on total healthcare costs, and determine whether patients use care differently depending on their province. Seow is an associate professor of oncology at McMaster and he holds the Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair in Health Services Research.

Dr. John Valliant $412,392
John Valliant is studying a way to develop a more precise, non-invasive method to detect breast cancer. With this funding, he will create an imaging probe to help identify insulin receptors that are abundant on the surface of breast cancer cells, with the goal of using this early change in cancer cells for screening and to predict the best treatment options. Valliant is an associate professor of chemistry at McMaster and CEO and scientific director of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization.

Grants are selected after a rigorous national application and review process. For a complete list of newly funded research grants across the country by the Canadian Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.ca

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

About McMaster University
McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

For further information:

Media contact:
Susan Emigh, Director, Public Relations, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University (905) 525-9140, ext. 22555 or emighs@mcmaster.ca
Catherine Lundy, Manager, Hamilton Wentworth Unit, Canadian Cancer Society: (905) 575-9220, ext 3111 or clundy@ontario.cancer.ca

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Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

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