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New institute supports cancer research, collaboration


Winnipeg, MB – A new multidisciplinary organization, the Research Institute of Oncology & Hematology (RIOH), has been formed as a joint project by CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) and the University of Manitoba (U of M). The RIOH, which will broaden the scope of cancer research in Manitoba, will be located at the still-to-be-built CancerCare Manitoba Research Centre. The partners say it will bring together all pillars of cancer and blood disorder research, to foster innovation, collaboration and translation of leading edge research into meaningful improvements in cancer care.

The RIOH, which is temporarily located at CCMB’s facility, succeeds the CCMB and U of M’s original cancer research institution, the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, which has focused on molecular biology research since 1969. The RIOH expansion will create an umbrella organization to include all cancer research in the province – it will be both an active research facility and a hub for multidisciplinary teams to collaborate.

A search for a director will be launched in the coming months, according to Melni.Ghattora, spokesperson with the University of Manitoba.

“We are grateful to the University of Manitoba for their committed partnership to the advancement of cancer research in Manitoba,” said Dr. Sri Navaratnam, CancerCare Manitoba president and CEO. “RIOH will now enable multidisciplinary teams across the cancer continuum to work more closely together, on more projects that will have greater direct benefit to our patients.”

The expanded cancer research platform at RIOH will includes the entire spectrum of cancer research, including discovery research, prevention, clinical innovation/health services, and patient experience.

“We are excited to embark on this new collaborative approach to cancer research in Manitoba,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) and distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba. “By creating teams working in an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional manner, we are supporting transformational research that is put into practice for better healthcare of Manitobans and Canadians.”

Research Manitoba’s recent award of a $2.5 million grant to CCMB leukemia researchers, reflects the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research planned for RIOH. Led by CCMB senior scientist, Dr. Spencer Gibson, the grant is for research into the most common type of leukemia (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia), and is based on a cluster approach to bring together the best and brightest in research of a particular disease.