Halifax, NS – The QEII Foundation today announced $200,000 in new funding to be directed towards the ground-breaking Atlantic Path cancer research project currently underway across the region studying genetic, lifestyle and environmental contributors to cancer.
“This is a terrific project to be supporting,” said Sherry Porter, chair of the QEII Foundation’s volunteer board of trustees. “The QEII Health Sciences Centre is a major cancer diagnostic and treatment centre, and patients arrive every day for life saving surgeries and treatments. It’s only natural for us to be involved in the largest cancer research project the region has ever seen.”
Dr Louise Parker, whom the QEII Foundation announced in 2007 as the inaugural Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division Chair in Population Cancer Research, is the principal investigator in the Atlantic Path project. She sees the data gathering currently underway as an initiative that will pay dividends for future Atlantic Canadians. “This is for the health of our children and grandchildren,” she said. “It’s taking an in depth look at a lot of things we’ve never really considered before as determinants of population cancer.” One such possible determinant, the arsenic that naturally occurs in some well water, is being looked at in a sub-study of Path via study participants’ toenail clippings.
“In Nova Scotia, about 45% of us get our drinking water from wells,” said Dr Parker. “We need to know the effect that arsenic and other heavy metals is having on our cancer rates.” Atlantic Canadians have amongst the country’s highest rates in many types of cancer, and Dr Parker hopes the Atlantic Path project will help shed some light on why, and what we can do to change that.