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Centre de recherche
Thursday, September 16 2010
Press release

Even more powerful clinical diagnostic and treatment tools for childhood leukemia

Montreal, September 16th, 2010 - The Terry Fox Foundation in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) ‘s Institute of Cancer Research announce today the awarding of a major team grant to top researchers from University of Montreal, McGill University, University of Sherbrooke and University of Toronto. The support will enable these investigators to explore novel research avenues in the field of childhood leukemia.

The multidisciplinary and inter-university research program, which will be under the leadership of a team of investigators from the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, aims to study the genomic determinants of childhood leukemia.

Better Understanding Leads to Better Cures

The grant of over $2M, the first of its kind in the field of pediatric oncology, will make it possible to spearhead breakthroughs in the field of biomedical, clinical and translational research. These advances may then be used as a foundation for innovative cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies.

According to Dr. Daniel Sinnett, Head of the Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancers research axis at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry at the University of Montreal, “Support from the Terry Fox Foundation will enable our inter-institutional research team to take advantage of the rapid development of new genomic tools to improve our understanding of the causes of childhood leukemia. This unique research program will lead to the development of even more powerful clinical tools in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.”

The CHU Sainte-Justine is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of nearly 65% of pediatric tumors in Quebec. It is the only accredited pediatric bone marrow transplant center and the only one in Quebec to perform all types of solid organ transplants.

"Dr. Sinnett and his team have proposed an ambitious plan to examine the whole genome sequence to get a better understanding of childhood leukemia," said Dr. Morag Park, Scientific Director for the Institute of Cancer Research at CIHR. "The development of new tools for discovery, diagnosis and treatment will go a long way towards helping those children afflicted with this horrible disease."

The aim of the partnership with the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program and the CIHR is to consolidate Canadian research in oncology by supporting teams of experienced and talented researchers who are conducting high-level research. The funding program, which promotes a concerted team approach, will make it possible to obtain faster results more effectively than through individual grants.

"The Terry Fox Foundation is pleased to fund this important research at Sainte- Justine University Hospital Center. The Foundation is pleased to support this important New Frontiers Program Project Grant led by Dr. Sinnett. This research in acute lymphoblastic leukemia will help to shed light on the genetics behind childhood leukemia,” said Dr. Victor Ling, president and scientific director of the Terry Fox Research Institute.

The three others Canadian Terry Fox grant recipients are Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook Hospitals in Toronto and University of British Columbia.

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