Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Continuing collaboration for cancer research

$30 million in funding from the Canadian Cancer Society ensures that the research conducted by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group continues to have meaningful impact on the lives of people with cancer.

[Art of Research Photo: Leaving Home by Eric Lian]
Queen's Art of Research Photo: Leaving Home by Eric Lian

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has renewed its support of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) based at Queen’s with a five-year $30 million commitment. The funding represents a continuation of CCS’s largest research investment, which began in 1980 when it helped to create the research group that became CCTG’s national research network.

CCTG has supported more than 600 cancer clinical trials to test anti-cancer and supportive therapies worldwide, enrolling 100,000 patients from 40 countries. It has grown to become the largest research group at Queen’s, leading and supporting a global network of 20,000 investigators and clinical trial staff and collaborating with more than 85 hospitals and cancer centres across Canada. Research at CCTG continues to set new standards for cancer care that lead to significant innovations in treatments both in Canada and around the world.

“The successful CCS grant renewal is a recognition of the exceptional caliber of our national scientific leaders, international research activities and the impact our trials have on new treatments for people with cancer,” says Janet Dancey (Oncology), CCTG Director. “The funding will ensure that Canadian-led trials find answers to what is most important to Canadian patients and clinicians.”

The Canadian Cancer Society is focused on supporting research in Canada that leads to tremendous progress against cancer – from research expanding the fundamental knowledge of the biology of cancer, improving detection, diagnosis, and treatment, to helping Canadians cope with challenges during and post cancer treatment. To secure the continued funding, CCTG participated in a rigorous external review process that considered all aspects of the group’s work and its impact on clinical trials research. With CCS’s support, CCTG will advance its strategic objectives and ensure the continued development and execution of trials that improve lives globally.

“CCS is proud to continue to provide core funding for CCTG, and we’re incredibly grateful to our donors who make this support possible,” says Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice President of Mission, Research & Advocacy at CCS. “With an international reputation for running Canada’s most impactful cancer clinical trials, CCTG’s work benefits not just people with cancer in Canada but around the world.”

From its home on Queen’s campus, CCTG administers and supports between 60 and 70 clinical trials at any given time and will be expanding its leadership role in the area of immunotherapy. Active projects include ExCELLirate Canada with Annette Hay (Medicine) and Jonathan Bramson (McMaster University) focused on united Canadian researchers to leverage development of cell therapies and viable treatment options through planning cost-effective methods for the harvest, expansion, manipulation, purification, and delivery of the cells.

Through its Patient Representative Committee, CCTG commits to working in partnership with patients to improve cancer outcomes, ensuring patients’ needs and priorities are considered in all trial designs and activities. For example, a recent CCTG trial published in 2021 was the first to show that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is more effective in alleviating pain from spinal metastases than conventional radiation treatments with 35 per cent of patients reporting an enduring, complete control of pain at three months post-radiation. 

“Access to clinical trials mean life. My family, friends and I are so thankful for the clinical trial I participated in, which kept me alive long enough for more life-extending treatments to be developed and become accessible. As a stage four lung cancer patient that trial has given me seven more years (and counting) to be mom to my three children,” says Jill Hamer-Wilson, lung cancer patient advocate and CCTG Patient Representative.

Learn more about the Canadian Cancer Trials Group at Queen’s and its partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society by visiting its website.