VANCOUVER, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society Research
Institute has awarded its inaugural Innovation Grants to support unconventional concepts, approaches or methodologies to
address problems in cancer research. Approximately $1.5 million will go
to eight BC based researchers for innovative projects.
"We are thrilled to be able to fund these outstanding, novel projects
that show incredible creativity and great potential for their impact in
the fight against cancer," says Dr Christine Williams, Vice-President
of Research, Canadian Cancer Society. "We await the results of these
studies with tremendous excitement."
"BC clearly has its share of innovators," said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of
the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. "There is the potential for
making major advancements to benefit patients. They may involve high
risk ideas, but they have the potential for high rewards."
Approximately $4.5 million has been invested across Canada in 23
projects. Additional grants in cancer prevention and population health
interventions will be announced later in the year.
The recipients are:
Colin Collins, Senior Scientist and Co-director, Microarray Facility Vancouver
Prostate Centre, is focused on clearing a sequencing bottleneck. He is
developing tools to analyse hundreds and thousands of cancer genomes to
help identify tumour-specific biomarkers and potential drug targets for
Cheryl Helgason, Senior Scientist, Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Agency, is
working with laboratory models to determine which non-coding RNA
molecules (a new type of genetic material) are responsible for the
spread of prostate cancer and identify new targets for treatment.
Philip Hieter, Professor, Medical Genetics, UBC, is testing combinations of therapies
which damage DNA and block the repair of DNA in simple yeast and worm
organisms (with genetic defects similar to those found in human
cancers). He hopes to identify those most effective at killing tumour
Mladen Korbelik, Distinguished Scientist, Integrative Oncology, BC Cancer Agency, is
using strong light (photodynamic therapy) to destroy tumour cells after
they have been sensitized using specific drugs to create powerful
cancer vaccines that can initiate an immune response to eradicate
Christopher Loewen, Asst Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology, UBC, is examining biosensors in yeast that regulate metabolic changes
involved in the growth and spread of tumours. He hopes to use this
knowledge to understand metabolic changes in human cancers and to
identify novel drugs and drug targets.
Andrew Minchinton, Distinguished Scientist, Integrative Oncology, BC Cancer Agency, is
using state of the art technologies to test a new set of drugs to
re-sensitize cancer cells that have slowed down their growth to become
resistant to chemotherapy.
Miriam Rosin, Senior Scientist, Cancer Control, BC Cancer Agency, is studying the
excised tonsils of patients to determine patterns of HPV infection and
conducting surveys to assess if lifestyle factors increase risk of
Sohrab Shah, Molecular Oncology, BC Cancer Agency, is developing a prototype
computer program to identify genetic mutations that drive breast and
ovarian cancers. This is expected to speed up research around the world
that relies on finding important gene mutations as the basis of new
Please note: Researchers available for comment (with the exception of Dr
Colin Collins who is overseas).
In 2010 The Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute announced an
evaluation and re-design of the research portfolio to align with the
Canadian Cancer Society's strategic plan.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization
committed to the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the
quality of life of people living with cancer. For information about
cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)
For further information:
Media Liaison, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon
Office: 604 675 7335
Cell: 604 313 8097