Lab Canada

$1.8M research grant supports study into weight loss in cancer patients

Montreal, QC – Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre Cancer Nutrition Rehabilitation Program recently received a $1.8 million grant from the Terry Fox Foundation to investigate new treatments and prevention of Anorexia Cachexia Syndrome (ACS). ACS is a devastating condition suffered by cancer patients that combines fatigue, weight-loss and depression.


“Appetite loss with subsequent weight loss, caused by cancer or its treatment, is common in patients,” says Dr. Martin Chasen, a medical oncologist who is clinical director of the Cancer Nutrition Rehabilitation Program. “If left unchecked it can lead to malnutrition, fatigue, and muscle wasting and ultimately the Anorexia Cachexia Syndrome – a serious condition that causes the death of many cancer patients.”


Since 2002, the Cancer Nutrition Rehabilitation Program, located at the MUHC and Jewish General Hospital, has worked diligently to prevent and treat ACS. A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists, work together to design individualized rehabilitation programs consisting of dietary planning, exercise and counselling.


The Terry Fox Foundation’s $1.8 million grant will fund a new three-year project starting in January.


“This research endeavour will investigate the many aspects of Anorexia Cachexia Syndrome, from animal models and biological markers, to patients’ clinical experience,” says Dr Bruno Gagnon a palliative care physician in the Cancer Nutrition Rehabilitation Program at the MUHC and principal investigator of the new research project. “It will increase our knowledge of how to prevent and treat this condition and ultimately allow us to develop effective therapies that will improve the quality of life of patients with cancer, of which there are 1.5 million in Canada alone.”