Canada's commitment to cancer research demonstrated in new CCRA report

    5 cents of every $1 spent by the federal government on science and
    technology R&D went to cancer research in 2006

    TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA), in
its second and expanded survey of cancer research investment in Canada,
estimates that 5 cents of every $1 spent by the federal government on all
extramural science and technology R&D went to cancer research in 2006. The
survey represents the most comprehensive examination of federal government
investment in cancer research undertaken to date, and also provides investment
figures from many of the major provincial government organizations and
voluntary sector organizations that fund cancer research.
    Excluding partner contributions, the federal investment in cancer
research was $212.3M out of an estimated $3,764M of overall extramural federal
R&D spending in 2006/07(1). Research investment by the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research (CIHR), Canada's lead federal funding agency for health
research, accounted for the largest proportion of the cancer research
investment at $121.8M. Other federal investments exceeding $10M were made by
the Canada Foundation for Innovation ($32.2M), the Indirect Costs program
($22.7M) and the Canada Research Chairs program ($17.0M).
    Dr. Alain Beaudet, new President of CIHR, applauds CCRA's work in
quantifying Canadian investment in cancer research. "Cancer research is a
critical part of Canada's strength in health research and related sciences,"
says Dr. Beaudet. "The CCRA report shows the commitment of the federal
government in the area of cancer research and illustrates the vital role
played by CIHR as the leading funder of cancer researchers who continue to
make headway in our understanding of this formidable disease."
    "By not only quantifying but qualifying Canada's cancer research
investment in terms of the types of research being conducted and the cancer
sites being studied, our survey helps to inform cancer research funders as
well as key groups like The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer on how future
investments may need to be targeted in order to facilitate key discoveries in
cancer prevention, detection, treatment and ongoing care," adds Dr. Elizabeth
Eisenhauer, Chair of the CCRA and President of the National Cancer Institute
of Canada.
    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. "The survey is
important to The Partnership because it provides valuable information about
the research landscape in Canada," says Ms. Jessica Hill, CEO of The
Partnership. "Our organization assumed full funding of the 2007 survey, which
is currently underway, and we look forward to facilitating the development of
a pan-Canadian cancer research strategy over the next several months."

    (1) Based on federal government expenditures on scientific activities as
        published by Statistics Canada in the December 2007 edition of
        Science Statistics (Table 5-1) available at

    Survey Highlights

    The Canadian Cancer Society was the single largest cancer research funder
among the 10 voluntary organizations surveyed with an investment of $44.7M,
which represented nearly 12% of the total investment in 2006. Organizations,
other than federal government, surpassing the $10M cancer research investment
figure in 2006 were The Terry Fox Foundation ($19.1M), Ontario Institute for
Cancer Research ($13.3M), and Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec
    This year's report provides a detailed analysis of the cancer research
investment by six types of funding mechanisms: operating grants;
equipment/infrastructure grants; career awards; trainee awards; institutional
support; and related support grants. This stratification improves the capacity
to produce comparable analysis for organizations and provinces.
    Operating grants, competitive grants that support all the direct costs
involved in conducting research, accounted for $209M of the cancer research
investment in 2006, and the majority of this investment (63%) came from
funding programs that did not restrict researchers in terms of research area
or cancer site. The survey suggests that funding programs that focus on
specific research areas and/or cancer sites do fill important roles in terms
of broadening the scope of research activity undertaken. The operating grant
investment also showed a distinct regional distribution based on funding
source when provincial populations were factored in. Per capita federal
investment was highest in Quebec at nearly $5 per person, whereas provincial
investment was highest in Alberta at nearly $2 per person, and investment by
voluntary organizations was highest in Ontario at nearly $3 per person. When
the funding sources were pooled, per capita investment exceeded $5 per person
in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
    Equipment/infrastructure grants accounted for $116.7M of the 2006 cancer
research investment, with the largest share of this investment being from the
Canada Foundation of Innovation at $80.4M (this included the federal
contribution of $32.2M and the estimated partner contribution of $48.2M).
    Career awards, which, for the purposes of the report, included salary
awards, research chairs and establishment grants, accounted for $37.5M of the
overall cancer research investment in 2006. Nearly half of this investment
(45%) was accounted for by the Canada Research Chairs program. During 2006,
there were 211 chairs engaged in cancer research as part of their research
    In terms of trainee awards, $26.6M was invested in trainees, most (86%)
of whom were studying at Canadian institutions. Post-doctoral
awards/fellowships accounted for 40% of this investment.
    Over half (53%) of the overall cancer research investment was for
research which was applicable to all cancers, and not specific to a cancer
site. Site-specific cancer research comprised $183.5M of the investment, with
six cancer sites accounting for 70% of this investment: breast ($48.4M);
leukemia ($23.5M); prostate ($16.8M); colorectal ($14.0M); brain ($13.1M); and
lung ($12.4M). The distribution of the site-specific cancer investment varied
by funding mechanism.

    Future Directions

    "There are several important initiatives underway which will shape the
dollar distribution over the coming years, and this will be tracked in
upcoming years of the survey," explains Dr. Eisenhauer. These include:

    -   The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, a pan-Canadian cohort
        study of 300,000 Canadians supported by The Canadian Partnership
        Against Cancer and its regional partners, the BC Cancer Agency, the
        Alberta Cancer Board, Cancer Care Ontario with the Ontario Institute
        for Cancer Research, Quebec's CARTaGENE project, and Cancer Care Nova
        Scotia with Dalhousie University collaborating for work in the
        Atlantic Provinces.
    -   The Canadian Cancer Society has launched a special Cancer Research
        Prevention Initiative. Its first program is focused on research into
        modifiable risk factors and conditions in cancer. This research
        program will receive up to $3 million over the next three years. In
        an effort to fill another area of unmet need, the Canadian Cancer
        Society will also be establishing a special Centre for Health
        Economics, Services, Policy and Ethics Research in Cancer Control.
    -   The creation of The Terry Fox Research Institute, which links major
        research centres across Canada to focus on translational research -
        research designed to accelerate the pace at which scientific
        discoveries become practical solutions to benefit cancer patients
    -   The Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, a key
        element of Canada's Science and Technology Strategy, which began
        funding two centres focused on cancer research in 2008.
    -   Recruitment by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research of a planned
        50 internationally recognized principal investigators who will work
        on innovation programs and platforms as well as translational
        research programs.

    Canadian Cancer Research Survey

    The Canadian Cancer Research Survey is the second collaboratively funded
survey undertaken by CCRA members. Information was gathered on all research
projects actively funded in calendar year 2006 (4,415 projects in total
catalogued) by 34 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), an international 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 2007 (ICD-10) was used to classify
cancer site.
    The term "cancer research investment" is used within the CCRA report to
represent cancer research projects that received some form of peer review, and
were administered by the organizations participating in the survey. Unless
otherwise noted, research projects were included under the organization which
administered the grants and awards programs even in those situations where the
project was funded by more than one organization. For the full report, "Cancer
Research Investment in Canada," a video clip, and a PowerPoint presentation,
please go to the CCRA web site at

    Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) Members & Affiliated Partners

    The 24 member organizations of CCRA are: Alberta Cancer Board; Alberta
Heritage Foundation for Medical Research; BC Cancer Agency; Canadian
Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies; Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation;
Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance; Canadian Cancer Society; Canadian
Institutes of Health Research; CancerCare Manitoba; Cancer Care Nova Scotia;
Cancer Care Ontario; Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec; Genome Canada;
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research; National Cancer Institute of
Canada; National Research Council of Canada; New Brunswick Cancer Network;
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of
Canada; Public Health Agency of Canada; Saskatchewan Cancer Agency; The
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer; The Cancer Research Society; and The
Terry Fox Foundation. Affiliated partners include Canadian Prostate Cancer
Research Initiative, Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, and the
Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation/Fondation du cancer du sein du Québec.

    About The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

    The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an independent organization
funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for
all Canadians. It brings together cancer survivors, patients and families,
cancer experts and government representatives to implement the first
pan-Canadian cancer control strategy. The Partnership's vision is to be a
driving force to achieve a focused approach that will help prevent cancer,
enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer, lessen the likelihood
of dying from cancer, and increase the efficiency of cancer control in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Kim
Badovinac, Manager, CCRA Canadian Cancer Research Survey, Tel. (416) 915-9222,
ext. 5739, Email:

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