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Thursday, August 27 2015

CHU Sainte-Justine funding partners join Terry Fox Research Institute in support of childhood leukemia research

MONTRÉAL, August 27, 2015 – Terry Fox undertook his Marathon of Hope 35 years ago after spending months in a pediatric ward for his bone cancer. Today, Dr. Sonia Cellot, clinician-scientist at CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and professor at Université de Montréal, will receive funding from the Terry Fox Research Institute, The Cole Foundation, the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, and the Fondation Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau to pursue new ways to help children who are battling a deadly form of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia (AML).This funding is the result of her success in the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) annual peer-reviewed, country-wide competition.

While there has been rapid advancement in some forms of leukemia, the prognosis for children diagnosed with AML is grim: only about six out of ten children diagnosed with this disease will survive. Dr. Cellot will study ways to improve the outcomes for these young cancer patients. Her project will generate new knowledge on the role of chromatin structure changes in AML. This should lead to novel therapeutic strategies. Being a hematologist, Dr. Cellot is particularly interested in developing ways in which drugs might be able to target leukemic stem cells while preserving the normal blood stem cells. “We don’t have the cure rates as high as in other areas of leukemia, so this is a big focus for me, and I’m extremely grateful to the TFRI and the contributing partner foundations for their financial support” says Dr. Cellot.

“These three-year awards enable top new talent at our partner cancer research institutions to gain valuable mentorship experience within our pan-Canadian research community from world-class research teams.” says Dr. Victor Ling, Terry Fox Research Institute President and Scientific Director. “Further, they are a game-changer for many of the recipients, enabling them to build their own research and laboratory programs at a critical time in their careers. We also thank our funding partners here in Quebec, so we can support these future leaders in cancer research, who will play a pivotal role in helping us to fulfill Terry’s dream to eradicate cancer.”

“Partnerships between organizations are very important as the challenges of conquering diseases are far greater than the financial resources of a single institution,” says Mr. Barry Cole, president of The Cole Foundation. "It is exciting to see foundations across Canada partnering to support the next generation of Canadian scientists. We are very proud to come together with our partners and endorse our young investigator Dr. Sonia Cellot,” says CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s President and Chief Executive Officer Maud Cohen. “We are confident that our joint support will contribute in giving children with cancer the best chances of recovery,” says Fondation Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau’s President Richard Laramée.

“We are extremely pleased to account our clinician-scientist Dr. Sonia Cellot and her team to be among the top researchers selected by the TFRI”, says Alain Moreau, Director of Research and Chief Scientific Officer of the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. “Taking part in an effort to fight cancer collectively across the country is a privileged and most valuable approach, as the need to improve children with cancer’s health and quality of life is global and knows no borders.”

The Terry Fox Research Institute has announced New Investigator awards to five other Canadian researchers: two others in Quebec, two in British Columbia and one in Ontario to pursue their research under Terry Fox’s name. TFRI invests funds raised by the Terry Fox Foundation through the annual Terry Fox Run, which this year will be held on Sunday, September 20, 2015.

More about clinician-scientist Sonia Cellot

Dr. Sonia Cellot is an investigator in the Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancers axis at CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Université de Montréal. She works as a pediatric hematologist in the Hematology-Oncology Division of CHU Sainte-Justine since 2009, where she is responsible for the pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) program. Her clinical duties encompass direct patient care, mainly in the hematopoietic stem cells transplantation unit, and diagnostic test development as medical advisor in the molecular biology laboratory. She is co-investigator of the pediatric branch of the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank, an initiative that aims to systematically preserve pediatric AML samples for research purposes.

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About The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI)

The Terry Fox Research seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 65 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. www.tfri.ca

About The Cole Foundation

The Cole Foundation offers two-year fellowships to clinical, doctoral and postdoctoral graduate scientists dedicated to research in leukemia and leukemia-related diseases in children and young adults. Through its fellowships, the Cole Foundation has committed more than $6 million to support leukemia researchers in Greater Montreal laboratories and hospitals. www.colefoundation.ca

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation
The mission of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation is to engage the community and support CHU Sainte-Justine in its pursuit of excellence and its commitment to provide the children and mothers of today and tomorrow with one of the highest levels of healthcare in the world. www.fondation-sainte-justine.org

About Fondation Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau

The Fondation Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau is dedicated to fighting against pediatric cancer. Its mission is to finance research and support the development of projects in the area of pediatric oncology in Quebec. charlesbruneau.qc.ca

About CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. It brings together more than 200 research investigators, including over 90 clinician-scientists, as well as 350 graduate and post-graduate students focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center is part of CHU Sainte-Justine, which is the largest mother-child center in Canada and second most important pediatric center in North America. More on research.chusj.org

CHU Sainte-Justine

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Mélanie Dallaire

Senior Communication Advisor, Media Relations

514-345-7707 (direct); 514 415-5727 (pager)



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Updated on 8/27/2015
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