Canada's New Government Invests $10.1 Million for Better Access to Cancer Care from Prevention to Palliation

    WINNIPEG, Aug. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of
the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of
Health today announced $10.1 million for access to high quality cancer care
research. Canada's New Government through the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR) in partnership with CancerCare Manitoba and Cancer Care Nova
Scotia will provide the funding over the next five years to seven research
    "Canada's New Government is committed to further building knowledge on
how to better detect, treat and survive cancer," said Minister Toews. "In this
regard, the projects being funded today will build on the work of the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, announced by Prime Minister Harper November 2006
and designed to have the very best out of our knowledge today to plan for and
improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment tomorrow."
    "Evidence, based on solid scientific research, is key to informed health
decision making. The 7 teams being funded today will provide exactly the kinds
of evidence that cancer patients, policy makers and family doctors need to
improve the quality of cancer care across Canada" stated Dr. Alan Bernstein,
President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
    "We are committed to working with provinces and healthcare experts to
improve timely access to high quality health care, a top priority for CIHR and
for all Canadians," said Dr. Branton, Scientific Director of the CIHR
Institute of Cancer Research. "These teams will advance knowledge in many
areas that are of strategic importance to our health care system, and will
ultimately allow for better access to cancer care for patients and their
    The selected CIHR teams underwent a rigorous peer-review process before
being approved and exemplify CIHR's comprehensive, problem-based approach to
funding excellence in health research. Funds will be distributed over the next
five years to the seven teams. The funded research projects include:
    Richard Doll (B.C. Cancer Agency) CIHR Team in Supportive Cancer Care.
The team will research how cancer patients can receive greater and more
equitable access to supportive care services that address the needs of the
patients including physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the
    Brenda Elias (University of Manitoba) CIHR/CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB)
Team in First Nations Cancer Research. The team will inform the development of
a national surveillance system to gather cancer data for defined groups such
as First Nations people to inform the future development of a First Nation
specific cancer control strategy.
    Eva Grunfeld (Dalhousie University / Cancer Care Nova Scotia)) CIHR/CCNS
Team in Access to Colorectal Cancer Services in Nova Scotia. The team will
develop tools to measure and improve access to quality cancer treatment and
care along the cancer continuum, including diagnosis, surgery, treatment,
follow-up and palliative care.
    Alan Katz (University of Manitoba) CIHR/CCMB Team in Primary Care
Oncology Research. The team will identify factors that will support primary
care physicians in improving the quality of care in patients with colorectal
cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in Canada.
    William MacKillop (Queen's University) CIHR Team in Access to Quality
Radiotherapy. The team aims to improve cancer outcomes in Canada by
developing, disseminating and evaluating quality standards for radiotherapy
programs. The application of these guidelines may improve cancer outcomes.
    Devidas Menon (University of Alberta) CIHR Team in Cancer Technology
Decision Making. The team will develop new tools to make the decision making
process associated with investments to new technologies for cancer prevention,
diagnosis and treatment more accountable, equitable, efficient and effective.
    Scott Tyldesley (B.C. Cancer Agency) CIHR Team in Operations Research for
Improved Cancer Care. The team, a collaboration between the BC Cancer Agency
and the Sauder School of Business at UBC, will use operations research methods
to improve access to radiation therapy and other aspects of cancer care.

    The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of
Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new
scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health,
more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian
health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and
support to more than 11,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

    CancerCare Manitoba is charged by an act of the legislature of Manitoba
with responsibility for cancer prevention, detection, care, research and
education for the people of Manitoba. As a centre of choice, CancerCare
Manitoba is dedicated to excellence in cancer care, to enhancing quality of
life for those living with cancer and blood disorders, and to improving
control of cancer for all Manitobans.

    Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a program of the Nova Scotia Department of
Health, created to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, families, and
the health care system through prevention, screening, education and research.

                      Highlighted Projects Backgrounder


    - Richard Doll (BC Cancer Agency) CIHR Team in Supportive Cancer Care

    The research program aims to create a pan-Canadian team to study
strategies to improve access to supportive cancer care. The program will focus
on improving access through patient navigation strategies, use of technology
to deliver supportive care such as on-line technologies, and attention to
groups with observed poorer outcomes.
    This work will enhance health care decision-making by providing cost
analyses related to the new proposed strategies. The team will develop new
methods to assist improved access to supportive care, including screening
tools and robust measures of short- and long-term patient outcomes.
    Supportive care helps patients and their families cope with cancer from
pre-diagnosis, through the process of diagnosis and treatment, to cure,
chronic disease management, or end-of-life care and into bereavement.
    The research team comprises researchers, decision makers, program
managers, clinicians and survivors from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba,
Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

    - Brenda Elias (University of Manitoba) CIHR/CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB)
      Team in First Nations Cancer Research

    While Canada has a well-established system of provincial cancer
registries, there is no existing process for disseminating cancer-related
information that meets the specific needs of First Nations communities. Led by
University of Manitoba researcher Brenda Elias, community health sciences, and
CancerCare Manitoba epidemiologist Donna Turner, community health sciences,
the Knowledge Translation Net Team (KT-NET) team comprised of epidemiologists,
medical-oncologists and physicians from leading academic and clinical
institutions, will develop a knowledge translation surveillance and monitoring
research process designed to improve access to cancer care information, from
prevention to palliation, for First Nations people in Manitoba.
    KT-NET will bring together researchers, health care providers,
policy-makers, First Nations communities, and front-line health workers. The
team will focus on improving access to information about patterns of cancer
incidence, prevalence and mortality; social determinants of behavioural risk;
and patterns of screening and treatment utilization. KT-NET will also provide
a better understanding of wait times and patient outcomes as these relate to
First Nations populations.

    - Eva Grunfeld (Dalhousie University / Cancer Care Nova Scotia))
      CIHR/CCNS Team in Access to Colorectal Cancer Services in Nova Scotia

    The team will study access to and quality of colorectal cancer services
along the cancer care continuum, which includes: diagnosis, surgery,
treatment, follow-up care and palliative care. Using information from the Nova
Scotia Cancer Registry and other Nova Scotia databases, they will develop
methods and tools to measure access to and quality of treatment and care
experienced by Nova Scotians diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2000 and
2005, with the aim of improving the entire system.
    In addition, they will study two potentially vulnerable populations where
access to quality cancer services may be low: adults with mental illness and
children and youth.
    Once measurement tools for access to quality colorectal cancer have been
developed, the team will explore the potential for using them to measure
access to quality services for those with other types of cancer.
    Study findings will provide researchers, doctors, other health
professionals and decision and policy makers with better information to guide
decisions which support improved access to quality cancer services in Nova

    - Alan Katz (University of Manitoba) CIHR/CCMB Team in Primary Care
      Oncology Research

    The Primary Care Oncology Research Network (PCO-NET) is a unique,
interdisciplinary research program designed to understand the role of primary
care practioners in improving outcomes and quality of care for patients with
colorectal cancer (CRC), the leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Led by
University of Manitoba researcher Alan Katz, family medicine/community health
sciences, PCO-NET is a collaborative team that includes family physicians,
nurses, cancer specialists, epidemiologists, cancer survivors and others.
PCO-NET will also incorporate information from several valuable sources of
research information about cancer service delivery including the Manitoba
Cancer Registry located at CancerCare Manitoba and the Research Repository at
the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. The network will focus on specific
aspects of CRC relevant to primary care, including: the role of family members
in decision making for CRC screening, community-based nursing support for
family physicians in promoting screening, and transfer of follow-up care from
cancer specialists to family physicians after acute treatment. The PCO-NET
research team comprises researchers, nurses, epidemiologists and physicians
from the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba.

    - William MacKillop (Queen's University) CIHR Team in Access to Quality

    Head of the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology at Queen's
University's Cancer Research Institute, Dr. William Mackillop is a radiation
oncologist with expertise in health service research. His research program
aims to improve cancer outcomes by providing the information necessary to
maximize the benefits of existing technologies within the limits of available
resources: 1) by improving access to care; 2) by improving the quality of care
at the population level; and, 3) by improving clinical decision making at the
level of the individual patient.

    - Devidas Menon (University of Alberta) CIHR Team in Cancer Technology
      Decision Making.

    This team is comprised of researchers in the fields of health economics,
health technology assessment, qualitative methodologies, cancer epidemiology,
knowledge translation as well as policy and clinical decision makers from
provincial cancer agencies. In the proposed research program, the team will
first establish a database of decision-making and processes regarding new,
expensive cancer technologies that have been described in the public domain.
Then, specific tools and processes will be adopted, adapted or developed, to
be tested in real-world situations by provincial cancer agencies. A goal of
the project is to create a Canadian network of academic researchers and health
care decision-makers, which will improve the transfer of research knowledge
into actual decision-making.

    - Scott Tyldesley (B.C. Cancer Agency) CIHR Team in Operations Research
      for Improved Cancer Care

    The project brings together a team of researchers and managers from
leading academic and clinical institutions to address a key concern of
Canadians - providing timely access to quality cancer care. The goal of the
project is to develop, test, and implement modern management practices,
especially from the field of Operations Research, to increase the efficiency
of the cancer system and to improve patient outcomes. The initial focus is on
improving the performance of the provincial Radiation Therapy program, with
the information being shared with other cancer jurisdictions.

For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: David Coulombe, CIHR Media
Specialist, (613) 941-4563, Mobile: (613) 808-7526,

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