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Brain cancer gets $5M boost in research funding


Toronto, ON – Four large research grants – valued at $1.25 million each – have been awarded to research teams in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa by a partnership of the Canadian Cancer Society, Brain Canada and the federal government. Three of the 4 projects will focus on brain cancer in children.

The projects receiving funding are as follows:

  • Poul Sorensen, University of British Columbia, is investigating how cancer cells thrive in stressful environments in the body.
  • David Stojdl, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, is focused on boosting the power of oncolytic viruses to treat brain cancers.
  • Uri Tabori, Hospital for Sick Children, is working on developing a simple blood or urine test to detect cancer.
  • Michael Taylor, Hospital for Sick Children, is studying a large collection of childhood brain tumour samples – specifically medulloblastomas – from around the world. He is looking to personalize therapies so that children with high-risk cancers get the aggressive treatments they need, while those with lower-risk cancers can receive a gentler regime to spare them some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Brain cancer is also the second most common cause of cancer death (after leukemia) among older adolescents and young adults aged 15-29 years. Brain cancer in adults is a devastating disease with a 5-year survival rate of only 25%, compared to 63% for cancers overall. “This money will help us to make real and significant progress against this disease,” said Pamela Fralick, president and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society.

The partnership enables the Canadian Cancer Society to leverage matching funds from Brain Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, a public-private partnership established by the federal government. Through this fund, non-federal donations are matched dollar for dollar by federal funds to support Canadian neuroscience research and advance knowledge and treatment of brain disease and mental disorders.

The joint funding platform is designed to fund new research that will quickly adopt innovations and accelerate the application of new knowledge to address problems in brain cancer. This partnership between two leading research funders will result in increased investment in brain cancer research and will encourage collaboration between scientists from the cancer and neuroscience fields.