The study of genetic determinants may lead to an alleviation of adverse effects in pediatric cancer survivors
MONTREAL, April 11, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Thanks to $3M in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other financial partners, a team of investigators from the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center (UHC) is endeavoring to find ways to lessen the long-term adverse effects that afflict two-thirds of survivors of the most common form of blood cancer in children (acute lymphoblastic leukemia - ALL) as part of a new pan-Canadian research network focusing on the consequences of blood cancers in children. By studying the genetic determinants that underlie neurocognitive, metabolic, cardiac and bone problems in survivors who have reached adulthood, the project will contribute toward a healthy future for children with leukemia.
According to Dr. Sinnett, the principal investigator of research team that set up the network with two other institutions from British Columbia and Ontario, the genetic causes of the long-term adverse effects of ALL treatments are not very well known. "While today 80% of ALL children are saved, they still should be able to grow up healthy and enjoy a good quality of life once they become adults. That's what we are aiming at, by trying to understand how individual patients react differently to the treatment based on their genetic profile."Dr. Sinnett is a specialist in the genetics of childhood leukemia, the Head of the Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancers research axis at the Sainte-Justine UHC's Research Center and holder of the research chair François-Karl Viau in Pediatric Oncogenomics.
The funding of the pan-Canadian intiative worth a total of $12M that has officially been announced today by the Honourable Leona Aglukkag, Canada's Minister of Health involves three healthcare institutions. The Sainte-Justine UHC will assume a leadership role regarding the pediatric leukemia survivors. Indeed, the institution has world-renowned research expertise in ALL and its genetic determinants, the latest sequencing technologies, pediatric oncology clinicians and other healthcare professionals who work together on the study of the long-term effects of childhood cancer in survivors.
Dr. Fabrice Brunet, the Executive Director of the Sainte-Justine UHC, explains: "The Sainte-Justine UHC, through its mission as a mother-child university hospital center, has the mandate to transfer knowledge acquired through research as quickly as possible so that patients in Quebec can derive direct benefit. We have here a perfect example of translational research where investigators and physicians work side by side." In this sense, he pledges the initiative will receive all the support from the Sainte-Justine UHC it needs to ensure the project is carried out and successfully completed.
The funding represents an important milestone that will likely lead to a number of research sub-projects. According to Dr. Guy Rouleau, the Director of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, "the project dovetails with the movement toward personalized medicine in which the Sainte-Justine UHC intends to assume a leadership role around the world by intensifying its research activities".
About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center
The Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. It brings together more than 1200 people, including over 200 researchers and 450 graduate and post-graduate students who carry out fundamental, clinical, translational, and evaluative research on mother and child health. Research work falls under six research axes, namely Health Outcomes; Brain Diseases; Musculoskeletal Diseases and Movement Sciences; Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancers; Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies; and Metabolic Health. It is focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center is part of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, which is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and second most important in North America. www.chu-Sainte-Justine.org/research/
For further information:
Interviews and media relations :
Mélanie Dallaire, Consultant, Media Relations
514 345-7707 or 4663 (office)
514 415-5727 (pager)
Marise Daigle, Communications
Sainte-Justine UHC's Research Center
514 345-4931, extension 3256