Canadian Cancer Society funds research to outsmart cancer

New research grants for Hamilton scientists total $1.1 million

HAMILTON, Ontario, May 5, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Three Hamilton scientists are receiving new funding from the Canadian Cancer Society for their work in innovative cancer research.

"It's thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we are able to contribute new funding to promising research that will impact cancer and is led by scientists dedicated to outsmarting this disease," says Rosemary Cabral, President, Hamilton Wentworth Unit, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division.

Dr Mickie Bhatia, Scientific Director, McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, is working on developing a technique that allows new blood cells to be created from a patient's skin-derived adult stem cells. Eventually, this could lead to alternatives to stem cell transplants, which can be lifesaving for people with leukemia and other cancers where treatment has severely damaged the blood system but require donor matches that are difficult to find. He is receiving $396,162 in funding to support this project.

"This funding will help us to learn more about the potential of using a patient's own stem cells for their treatment," says Dr. Bhatia. "I appreciate the Canadian Cancer Society's investment in excellent cancer research."

Dr. David Andrews, professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, is studying how cancer cells develop and grow out of control. Cancer develops by shutting off the normal process of cell death. Some cancer treatments work when this process is turned back on. Dr. Andrews and his team are investigating a protein called Bax that controls cell death, together with other proteins that influence its activity. These proteins could be new targets for future cancer treatments. He is receiving $413,322.

"The Canadian Cancer Society's support for basic cancer research is critically important," says Dr. Andrews. "Basic research is where many exciting discoveries are made that have resulted in life-saving treatments and are likely to lead to saving lives and improving treatments down the road."

Dr. Ranjan Sur, Clinician Scientist and Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, McMaster University, is receiving $345,966 to lead a clinical trial in patients with lung cancer to evaluate the benefit of combining external radiation with brachytherapy - a treatment where radioactive seeds are implanted inside the cancer to target it more directly. This project expands on Dr. Sur's preliminary work, which suggests that brachytherapy leads to longer periods of symptom control and improved quality of life for lung cancer patients.

"With this funding from the Canadian Cancer Society, we hope to significantly improve the quality of life of patients living with lung cancer," says Dr. Sur. "By offering patients a new combination treatment through our study, we hope to provide longer relief to some very difficult symptoms of their disease."

This investment in excellent cancer research helps further the Canadian Cancer Society's mission to eradicate cancer and improve the lives of people living with cancer.

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

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit their website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.