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11/10/2012

Terry Fox Foundation announces funding for cancer research

The Terry Fox Foundation provides $13.4 million for world-class, novel research into fighting cancer with viruses and finding ways to treat acute leukemias

OTTAWA, ON -- They are conducting breakthrough research into fighting cancer with viruses and investigating ways to treat acute leukemias and today two world-class, long-standing and prestigious national cancer teams received a combined $13.4 million shot in the arm from The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) to continue their work. The funds are raised annually by TFF through its annual Terry Fox community and school runs and invested through its national research arm, The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI).


The funding will support an Ottawa, Ontario-based team conducting research into oncolytic viruses (viruses that target cancer cells and leave healthy ones unharmed) to treat various forms of cancer and a Vancouver, British Columbia-based team exploring why acute forms of leukemia are difficult to treat. The teams will conduct their work from home institutes and laboratories in seven cities and four provinces in Canada. These elite and multidisciplinary “made-in-Canada” teams are known internationally, having both made seminal contributions for their work in oncolytic viruses (OVs) and normal and leukemic blood stems cells over the last several decades.

“We are very pleased today to announce this important investment in human capital provided by two world-class scientific and clinical teams who, through continuing excellence, teamwork and investigation continue to open up new frontiers of knowledge and innovation in important areas of cancer research. There are, and will continue to be, many unsolved mysteries in cancer research which require the attention of brilliant minds if we are to bring new therapeutics and innovations to the clinic. We must continue to fuel this groundbreaking work if we are to overcome this disease,” said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI president and scientific director.

“We are fortunate to have these teams conducting their work in Canada as a result of funds raised under the Terry Fox name,” said Mr. Fred Fox, manager of supporter relations for The Terry Fox Foundation. “For 32 years, our volunteers and donors have made it possible for Canada’s best researchers to play an important role nationally and internationally in moving forward in understanding, diagnosing and treating this disease. Your contributions are helping us to make a difference worldwide.”

The New Frontiers Program Project Grants is the flagship program of The Terry Fox Foundation's investment portfolio, funding team science and excellence in cure-oriented, biomedical research for nearly three decades. The annual competition is currently overseen by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research* in conjunction with TFRI and the awards are highly coveted by both applicants and recipients. In an increasingly competitive environment for research awards, these long-standing teams have demonstrated continuing excellence and an ability to remain novel and competitive year over year.

Armed with $7.5 million**, the Ottawa-based team led by Dr. John Bell, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, will continue their innovative work as part of a trans-Canadian network of clinical and basic scientists who are focused on the application of oncolytic viruses as a way to treat cancer. Dr. Bell’s team includes scientists at the BC Cancer Agency (Victoria and Vancouver, BC) and Genome Sciences Centre (Vancouver, BC), McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), University Health Network (Toronto, Ontario), Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Ottawa, Ontario), Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa, Ontario), McGill University (Montreal, Quebec) and Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

“Our project aims to use the revolutionary approach of harnessing oncolytic viruses as biotherapeutics and creating effective, targeted anti-cancer agents that cause few, if any, side effects. This funding from The Terry Fox Foundation provides us with the opportunity to advance our basic science discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic, where they can be tested and developed for the treatment of cancer patients,” said Dr. Bell.
 
For more about this funding announcement, contact:
Kelly Curwin, Chief Communications Officer
Terry Fox Research Institute
Office: 604-675-8223; Cell: 778-237-8158
E-mail: kcurwin@tfri.ca
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