Queen's University

Twelve Queen's researchers awarded CIHR grants


Several Queen’s projects including research into addiction, various types of cancer, and end-of-life decision-making have received nearly $10 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The NCIC Clinical Trials Group received $3.89 million to coordinate two international clinical trials. One trial investigates whether a simple hysterectomy is as effective and has fewer long-term adverse effects as a radical hysterectomy when treating patients with early-stage cervical cancer. Ralph Meyer, director of the NCIC CTG, is the nominated principal applicant and Marie Plante of Laval University is the trial chair.

The second trial asks whether adding radiotherapy to chemotherapy prior to surgery improves survival in patients with stomach cancer. Chris O’Callaghan is the nominated principal applicant and Rebecca Wong of the University of Toronto is the trial chair.

“This CIHR funding allows the NCIC CTG to continue to conduct important collaborative international trials that ultimately help us to determine the best treatments for Canadian cancer patients,” says Dr. Meyer.

Charles Graham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) received $1.04 million in total funding for his research. Dr. Graham is studying cancer and how it escapes destruction from the immune system and also fetal growth and pre-eclampsia. "Understanding how cancers escape immune destruction will hopefully lead to effective therapies. These grants will allow us to train future investigators including undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows,” he says.

Other successful applications included:

Brian Amsden (Chemical Engineering, amount over four years, $112,374 per year) - Arterial disease is a condition in which arteries in certain areas such as the lower leg become partly blocked. One approach to treating this condition is to locally deliver protein drugs. Dr. Amsden will examine the possibility of using polymer as an effective delivery vehicle for these protein drugs.

Andrew Craig (Health Sciences, amount over five years, $141,212 per year) - Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with a five-year survival rate of only 14 per cent.  Dr. Craig plans to translate his research into new therapies that improve survival of lung cancer patients.

Eric Dumont (Anesthesiology, amount over five years, $103,567) - Addiction is a compulsive behavior meaning that addicts spend exaggerated efforts and persist in taking drugs despite severe negative consequences. Apart from revealing new therapeutic targets to manage and perhaps cure drug addiction, Dr. Dumont’s research shall also shed more light on a plethora of benign and serious compulsive behaviors.

Randy Flanagan (Psychology, amount over five years, $142,203) – Dr. Flanagan is working to understand how the brain controls hand and eye movements in object manipulation tasks. This is an important goal because most daily tasks require manipulation skills and these skills are often impaired by stroke or neurological disease.

Lauren Flynn (Chemical Engineering, amount over four years, $105,982 per year) – Dr. Flynn’s collaborative research team is investigating adult stem cells from human fat to develop new strategies to help promote healthy tissue regeneration, rather than scarring, following soft tissue loss due to injury or disease.

Patti Groome (Epidemiology, amount over three years, $137,874 per year) - Cancer screening tests can detect a cancer before symptoms are present, but many cancers do not have screening tests. Dr. Groome will be researching how cancer patients come to be diagnosed and which patients are more likely to be diagnosed early.

Daren Heyland (School of Medicine, $126,958) – Dr. Heyland’s grant will fund a multi-centre study aimed at improving end of life decision making among the seriously ill, elderly hospitalized patients.

Kanji Nakatsu (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, amount over five years, $116,586) – Dr. Nakatsu’s team is collaboration of pharmacology, biochemistry and organic chemistry whose goal is to design novel drugs exploiting enzymes which may also find applications in disease diagnosis and treatment.

Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine, amount over five years, $148,627 per year) – Dr. Yang is exploring how several novel genes he discovered contribute to the development of lung cancer, a deadly disease killing more than 20,000 Canadian each year. The research findings will lead to better diagnosis and therapy for lung cancer.

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Last updated at 4:55 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
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