The Northern Cancer Foundation Disburses $450,000 in Research Grants

Thursday, April 13, 2017

SUDBURY, ON – Cancer research is one of the key pillars that the Northern Cancer Foundation (NCF) and Health Sciences North (HSN) is built upon – and the NCF is once again ensuring that research at the Northeast Cancer Centre (NECC) flourishes. Each year, the NCF accepts grant applications from the Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) Scientists. This year, the NCF has awarded a total $450,000 in grant funding. To be eligible for funding, the applicant must be an HSNRI Scientist and the applicant’s research must be in the field of oncology.

The NCF would like to congratulate the six successful applicants and their research teams: Dr. Michael Conlon, Dr. Robert Lafrenie, Dr. Hoang-Thanh Le, Dr. Hoyun Lee, Dr. Amadeo Parissenti and Dr. Leslie Sutherland.

“This is one of my favourite times of year,” says Tannys Laughren, Executive Director of the Northern Cancer Foundation. “We receive donations towards research all year long, culminating in this. Many Northerners made these grants possible and we know the researchers will do well by that and make the world a better place for cancer patients both close to home and worldwide.”

The support provided by NCF allows scientists in Northern Ontario to continue to find better solutions and improve care for patients. “The Northern Cancer Foundation continues to show its leadership with this generous announcement in support of cancer research and cancer care in the Northeast”, says Dr. Denis Roy, CEO of Health Sciences North Research Institute.

Research gives our patients confidence and provides an opportunity for patients to understand the disease and their diagnosis. “Research gives me the ability to dream,” says Paulette Lalancette, Northeast Cancer Centre Patient and Family Advisor, “I dream that I’ll be here to see my son graduate or to meet my grandchildren. That’s why research is so important to a patient. Research helps me see a future.”
The Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) Scientists are affliates of Laurentian University and Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
The Northern Cancer Foundation (NCF) will advance and make a difference in cancer outcomes and experience through the support of research and patient care in Northeastern Ontario. Every dollar donated stays in the region which enables the Northeast Cancer Centre to give patients the best care possible. Your Foundation for patient care and research in the North, for the North.

The Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) is focused on contributing to sustainable solutions for health challenges faced by Ontario’s Northern and Indigenous communities. Our research priority areas – Infection & Immunity, Cancer Solutions, Personalized Medicine and Healthy Aging – are wrapped around a population health focus to achieve health equity for Ontario’s Northern and Indigenous communities.

Title of Project: Trends in end-of-life care for Northeastern Ontario Cancer Patients: the use of aggressiveness of end-of-life care, the impact of palliative care and costs associated with cancer care near the end of life.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Conlon

Co-investigators: Mark Hartman, Barbara Ballantyne, Dr. Andrew Knight, Dr. Craig Earle

Funding Granted: $70,000

Summary: Published quality indicators suggest that people who die from cancer in northeastern Ontario often receive higher proportions of aggressive measures near end-of-life (emergency department visits, chemotherapy, death occurring in acute care) and possibly lower proportions of palliative care. This project aims to provide a unique understanding of end-of-life cancer care use and cost including measures associated with access to care and equity.

Title of Project: Evaluating natural product-based therapies for patients with cancer and pre-clinical assessment of electromagnetic field exposure as a cancer therapy.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Robert Lafrenie

Co-investigators: Dr. C. Buckner, Dr. D. Want, Dr. P.Cano, Dr. M. Abou-Zaid, Dr. M. Persinger

Funding Granted: $80,000

Summary: The goal of this project is to identify new anti-cancer drugs or treatments which can ultimately be brought to clinical use. Researchers will be testing extracts from traditional medicines and electromagnetic fields for anti-cancer capabilities and testing them on cancerous cells.

Title of Projects: (a) Combining nicotine vaccine with a novel safe pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation treatment and (b) new immuno-nanoparticle containing chemodrugs for cancer treatment through the skin.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hoang-Thanh Le

Co-investigators: (a) Dr. Simon Lemaire, Dr. Anh-Dzung Lê (b) Dr. Zi-Hua (Justin) Jiang, Dr. Hoyun Lee

Funding Granted: $70,000

Summary: (a) Create a strategy to reinforce our nicotine vaccine by combining it with a pharmacotherapeutic to treat alcohol dependence and reduce the “rewarding” effects of drug

abuse while relieving nicotine craving. (b) Develop a new pain-free cancer treatment delivered through the skin using nanoparticles and improve the effectiveness of existing anti-cancer drugs.

Title of Project: The development of safe and effective anticancer therapies using a precision medicinal approach

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hoyun Lee

Co-investigators: Dr. James Knockleby, Dr. Vandana Srivastava, Sanjeev Ranjan, Avani Mehta, John Kosiw, Maryam Abdulahad, Amanda Durkin

Funding Granted: $80,000

Summary: This project seeks to create the first anticancer drug systematically developed by a scientist working in Northern Ontario. Researchers are examining chemical derivatives of drugs that have been used to control human diseases and use these derivatives to make new, safe anticancer drugs.

Title of Project: (a) Pathways and mechanisms associated with ribosomal RNA degradation in human tumour cells and human solid tumours in response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and (b) pathways associated with cytokine production in tumour cells and their role in response to chemotherapy.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Amadeo Parissenti

Co-investigators: Dr. Carita Lanner, Dr. Thomas Kovala

Funding Granted: $80,000

Summary: (a) Creation of a tool to determine early in chemotherapy, whether treatment is working, allowing for cost savings, less management of side effect of treatment and more accurate treatment planning. (b) develop a cancer treatment designed to kill chemotherapy-resistant tumours as indicated by the tool in project (a).

Title of Project: Transcriptome analysis of cells grown at an air-liquid interface and exposed to tobacco and/or cannabis smoke

Principal Investigator: Dr. Leslie Sutherland
Co-investigators: Dr. Hoang-Thanh Le
Funding Granted: $70,000

Summary: This project will find the earliest changes that occur in lung cells exposed to tobacco smoke in order to determine which genes are cancer-causing, see if similar changes occur in lung cells exposed to cannabis smoke and examine the differences and similarities between lung cells affected by both tobacco and cannabis smoke.


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