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London scientist receive cancer research funding


London, ON – Three London scientists are receiving new funding from the Canadian Cancer Society for their work in cancer research.

Dr Eugene Wong, with the London Regional Cancer Centre, Dr John Lewis at the Lawson Health Research Institute, and Dr Shawn Li at the University of Western Ontario are the funding recipients.

Dr Wong’s developed a new individualized radiation technique as part of a clinical trial. His team is now actively translating this technique so it can be used more routinely for people with prostate cancer and other cancers.

With his new funding ($331,833), Dr Wong and a team of radiation oncologists and imaging scientists at the London Regional Cancer Centre plan to continue improving radiation therapy by studying techniques that allow doctors to see how much blood flows through a tumour and use this information to better guide cancer treatment. The research will help to individualize radiation treatment based on the specific biology of the tumour as indicated by its blood supply.

“My hope is that by combining past and present research efforts, we will be able to further maximize tumour control and minimize toxicities from radiation, improving the quality of life for all patients that are going to receive radiotherapy,” he says.

Dr John Lewis at the Lawson Health Research Institute is investigating a protein called CD151, which plays a key role in the ability of cancer cells to spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Through studying the molecular basis of this protein and others involved in the spread of cancer, he hopes that this research could lead to new therapies that prevent cancer from metastasizing.

Dr Lewis is receiving $389,667 for the project.

In London, 150 cancer patients have been involved in the project, having donated their tissue to be screened for the CD151 protein.

Dr Shawn Li at the University of Western Ontario is targeting Numb, a protein that has multiple functions regulating cell growth and behaviour and can contribute to cancer onset and development. The project will build on existing knowledge about the mechanisms behind Numb’s role in cancer development and may lead to the identification of potential targets for new treatments. Dr Li is receiving $410,688.

The London research grants were three of 66 new research grants across the country worth $24 million announced by the Canadian Cancer Society.