$254M invested in cancer research in 2005, reveals first pan-Canadian survey

    TORONTO, Sept. 12 /CNW/ - A report released today by the Canadian Cancer
Research Alliance (CCRA) reveals that $254 million dollars was invested in
direct support of peer-reviewed cancer research in 2005 by 19 of the major
cancer research funding organizations in Canada.
    "This inaugural study from members and affiliated organizations of CCRA
represents an important initial step in quantifying and qualifying the cancer
research funding landscape in Canada," says Dr. Philip Branton, Scientific
Director of the Institute of Cancer Research of the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research and Chair of the CCRA Board of Directors. "It is the first
study of its kind in Canada to gather detailed information on cancer research
being supported by a pan-Canadian group of organizations, and to assess this
investment in terms of the type of research being done and the type of cancer
being investigated."
    Formalized in December 2003, CCRA is an alliance of cancer research
funding organizations and affiliated partners working together to enhance the
overall state of cancer research funding in Canada through improved
communication, cooperation and coordination. Members include federal and
provincial government organizations, non-government organizations and other
key stakeholders within the cancer research arena. The Alliance also advises
the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer on its research agenda.
    Research investment by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,
Canada's lead federal funding agency for health research, accounted for 45% of
the cancer research investment in 2005. The National Cancer Institute of
Canada, the country's largest cancer-focused research funding charity
supported by the Canadian Cancer Society and The Terry Fox Foundation, was the
single largest cancer research funder in the voluntary sector at 24%.
    "The information collected in this survey is vitally important to all the
members of CCRA, and will help us in our individual organizational and
collective strategic planning," states Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauser, President of
the National Cancer Institute of Canada. "As organizations involved in funding
cancer research, we want to ensure that we identify opportunities and ways
where we can pool our expertise and resources in order to maximize return on
our research investment."
    Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Jeff Lozon commended
this first research report. "Research is a critical pillar in our strategy to
control cancer. Coordinating and leveraging cancer research expertise across
the country and speeding the uptake of cancer research findings into clinical
practice will help us achieve our objectives to reduce the incidence of
cancer, reduce the likelihood of dying of cancer and improve the quality of
life for those living with cancer in Canada."

    Survey Findings

    In terms of the type of research being supported, the CCRA survey found

    -   45% of the investment made in 2005 was in the area of biology, that
        is, research which looked at the biology of how cancer starts and
        progresses as well as normal biology relevant to these processes.
    -   One in five of the cancer research dollars was invested in treatment
        research, with over half of this investment supporting studies
        focused on the discovery and development of systemic treatments like
        drugs and other treatments.
    -   Between 7 to 10% of the total investment was in the area of
        prevention, which includes prevention interventions and exogenous
        factors (lifestyle, environmental and infectious agents) involved in
        the origins and causes of cancer.

    "There are several important initiatives underway which will likely change
this dollar distribution in the next few years," explains Dr. Branton. These

    -   a Cancer Research Prevention Initiative launched by the National
        Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society
    -   an Environment-Cancer Fund created by The Cancer Research Society
    -   the creation of a soon-to-be-announced initiative by The Terry Fox
        Foundation, linking major research centres across Canada
    -   a joint Regional/National Clinical Research Initiatives program
        launched by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the
        Canadian Foundation of Innovation
    -   substantial provincial cancer research investment in Alberta (Alberta
        Cancer Board and Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research)
        and in Ontario (Ontario Institute of Cancer Research)
    -   an innovative translational research funding program and pan-Canadian
        cohort study platform being supported by the Canadian Partnership
        Against Cancer, the new independent body established by the federal
        government made up of patient survivors, cancer experts and
        government representatives from across the country to spur
        implementation of a Canadian strategy to control cancer.

    In terms of types of cancer, 44% of the investment was for research not
directed towards a particular type of cancer, but relevant to common aspects
of many cancers. Half of this non-specific research investment was in the area
of biology. Another 22% was directed toward treatment research, and 13% was
for research in the areas of cancer control, outcomes and survivorship.
    The highest level of research investment for a given cancer type in 2005
was for breast cancer at $38M. This reflects several breast cancer specific
granting opportunities in Canada through groups such as the Canadian Breast
Cancer Research Alliance, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and other
provincial initiatives in Quebec and Alberta.
    The next largest cancer-specific investment ($18M) was directed towards
the study of leukemias. Over half of this investment was in the biology area.
2005 research investment in lung cancer, the cancer site with the most new
cases and the most deaths in Canada each year, was $7M, representing less than
3% of the total research investment of $254M.
    Although a number of smaller provincial health research organizations did
not participate in the survey, the results revealed that Canada's most
populous provinces received the greatest share of the cancer research dollars
in 2005.
    "The survey has helped to elucidate what we anecdotally suspected,
namely, that studies of some types of cancers likely require more funding,
that more investment in studies designed to understand the causes of cancer
and how to prevent cancer are needed, and that the conduct of cancer research
is fairly concentrated in key centres in the country," says Dr. Branton. "Our
next step is to incorporate these findings into our planning process so that
we can work together to facilitate substantive research opportunities and
scientific discoveries that will make a difference to the many Canadians
affected by cancer."
    The Alliance is currently undertaking the second phase of this survey -
collecting data on research funded in 2006 and aiming to expand the number of
participating organizations.

    Canadian Cancer Research Survey

    The Canadian Cancer Research Survey is the first collaboratively funded
project undertaken by CCRA members. Information was gathered on all research
projects actively funded in calendar year 2005 (3,260 projects in total
catalogued) by 19 cancer research funding organizations. All projects within
the CCRA database were classified according to type of research and type of
cancer. The Common Scientific Outline (CSO), a classification system specific
to cancer research, was used as the tool to classify research type. The
International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health
Problems, 10th Revision, Version for 2006 (ICD-10) was used to classify type
of cancer. For the full report, "Cancer Research Investment in Canada", please
go to the CCRA web site: http://www.ccra-acrc.ca.
    The term "cancer research investment" is used within the CCRA report to
represent the direct funding of cancer research projects that are
peer-reviewed, and administered by the organizations participating in the
survey. Unless otherwise noted, research projects are included under the
organization which administers the grants and awards programs even in those
situations where the project may be funded by more than one organization. The
investment shown for individual organizations may not reflect additional
expenditures on researcher salaries, infrastructure, indirect costs, and other
vital components that support the conduct of research.

    Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) Members & Affiliated Partners

    Members include federal government organizations: Canadian Institutes of
Health Research, National Research Council of Canada, Public Health Agency of
Canada; provincial government organizations: Alberta Cancer Board, Alberta
Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, BC Cancer Agency, CancerCare
Manitoba, Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Cancer Care Ontario, Fonds de la recherche
en santé du Québec, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, New
Brunswick Cancer Network, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Saskatchewan
Cancer Agency; and voluntary sector/non-governmental organizations: Canadian
Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, National Cancer Institute of Canada, Prostate
Cancer Research Foundation of Canada, The Cancer Research Society and The
Terry Fox Foundation. Affiliated partners include: Canadian Prostate Cancer
Research Initiative, Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, and
Fondation du cancer du sein du Québec.

For further information:

For further information: Kim Badovinac, Manager, CCRA Cancer Research
Survey, Tel. (416) 961-7223, ext. 5120, Email: info@ccra-acrc.ca

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