Ottawa researcher tackles solution to better outcomes for cancer surgeries with new Canadian Cancer Society funding

OTTAWA, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Dr Rebecca Auer, an Ottawa scientist researching an innovative way to boost a patient's immune system following cancer surgery, is one of 10 Ontario-based scientists receiving new funding, the Canadian Cancer Society announced today.

"This funding helps us work towards understanding how to fight cancer at the crucial time following surgery when a patient's immune system is suppressed," says Dr Auer, a surgical oncologist and associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

For the majority of patients with a solid tumour, surgery is an essential part of treatment. There is a risk that cancer may continue to grow after surgery, and treatments to reduce this risk are often given only after a patient has recovered from surgery since they may interfere with healing.

Dr Auer has proposed a completely new way to tackle this problem and will be using the new funding to study whether specialized viruses given around the time of surgery can stimulate the immune system into attacking remaining cancer cells.

This research is important because it could lead to a completely different way of treating cancer around the time of surgery. This innovative approach landed Dr Auer top scores in the Society's first Innovation Grants competition.

"It is inspiring to see the breadth of local and national investments the Canadian Cancer Society continues to make in the fight against cancer," says Bob Corson, Chair of the Society's Ottawa Advisory Board. "On behalf of the thousands of patients, donors and volunteers in Ottawa, funding this kind of innovative research is a key strategy we are executing in the fight against cancer."

The Society's new Innovation Grants were developed to support innovative and creative problem-solving in cancer research. The goal is to support unconventional concepts, approaches or methodologies to address problems in cancer research.

Dr Auer is receiving $200,000 over two years for this research. Since 2008, researchers in Ottawa have been awarded nearly $2.9 million in Society funding.

A total of 23 grants representing a $4.5 million investment were announced today across the country. For more information about the Society's research funding, visit

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 or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

For further information:

or to arrange an interview:
Christine Koserski
Public Affairs
Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division
(416) 323-7030;

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