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    Research Prominence

    Cancer screening concerns

    According to new research, adults in Ontario with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are significantly less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than the general population.

    Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz, a Queen’s researcher and lead author on the first study of its kind, found that Ontarians with IDD, such as autism and Down syndrome, were almost twice as likely to not be up-to-date with colorectal tests when compared to Ontarians without IDD.

    “As individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live longer, their risk of developing chronic conditions like cancer increases. Suboptimal screening may contribute to a greater cancer burden in this population,” says Dr. Ouellette-Kuntz, professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

    Partnered with Virginie Cobigo, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a scientist with ICES, the study examined Ontario residents between 50 to 64 years of age, with and without IDD.

    Researchers were able to gather that being older, female, having a greater expected use of health care resources, and being enrolled with or seeing a physician in a primary care patient enrolment model were all significantly associated with higher odds of having been screened for colorectal cancer in the IDD population.

    “As colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in Canada and is the second and third leading cause of cancer deaths among Canadian men and women respectively, these findings highlight the need for targeted interventions aimed at making cancer screening more equitable,” says Dr. Ouellette-Kuntz.

    This research was published in PLOS ONE.

    Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions within Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in science, engineering and health.

    On the hunt

    In an effort to bring research to the public, Queen’s University is once again encouraging participation in the Research Matters Virtual Scavenger Hunt. Hosted by the Council of Ontario Universities, the scavenger hunt targets the public and students to raise their interest in scientific research at the university level.

    Chloe Hudson is representing Queen's in this year's Virtual Scavenger Hunt hosted by the Council of Ontario Universities.

    The Virtual Scavenger Hunt starts today and each weekday until Friday, February 27 new clues will be released on the Research Matters website. Each clue’s answer is just one or two words and relates to a university research project happening somewhere in Ontario.

    This year the Queen’s research clue will be presented by Chloe Hudson, a master’s candidate in clinical psychology on Thursday, February 19.

    “I absolutely love research,” says Ms. Hudson, who is acting as the Queen’s Student Ambassador for the campaign. “I’m a curious person by nature, and I love the process of going from having a question to trying to figure out the answer, and then sharing what you find with a larger audience. I'm hoping that this campaign will get more people as excited about research as I am.”

     “I think the scavenger hunt will get people thinking about different research findings,” says Ms. Hudson. “Hopefully it will get students exploring areas outside of their expertise. This is so important, as we often get wrapped up in our own area and we’re ‘too busy’ to look into other things. It makes us better colleagues to know about other people's research, and it can even contribute to our own research by allowing us to look at our own findings with a new lens.

    Ms. Hudson’s own work looks at the relationship between victimization (e.g., being bullied) and depressive symptoms in adolescents. This relationship is well established in previous literature, but of course, not all children who are bullied go on to experience depression.

    The contest starts today and in order to be entered for the grand prize draw, participants must register and correctly answer each of the scavenger hunt’s questions in an online grid. If the grid is completed correctly, a hidden message will emerge. There are five grand prizes of $500 available to student participants and 21 Research Matters gift bags available to anyone who enters.

    A healthy image

    Just as 3D technologies are revolutionizing the worlds of entertainment and printing, the power of 3D imaging is transforming health care.

    For Amer Johri, assistant professor of echocardiography at Queen’s University and a clinician scientist at Kingston General Hospital, the rapid growth of 3D ultrasound imaging of the heart and vascular system opens up promising opportunities for advancing both patient care and doctors’ clinical skills.

    Amer Johri (centre) demonstrates the use of point of care ultrasound.

    Dr. Johri has made progress on both fronts. Returning to Queen’s in 2010 after completing an advanced fellowship in echocardiography at Harvard University Medical School, he created the Cardiovascular Imaging Network at Queen’s (CINQ) as a way to build existing, but disparate, pockets of strength in heart research into an investigative hub focused on imaging.

    “I saw it as a home for people interested in cardiovascular imaging, as a way to share resources and expertise,” says Dr. Johri, a member of the KGH Research Institute who also holds the distinction of Fellow of the American Society of Echocardiography for his contributions to the field of ultrasound. “I knew what resources were available, what would work, and I had good relationships with the cardiologists. It was fun to start something from scratch.”

    One of the centre’s significant areas of research is in the use of 3D ultrasound imaging of the carotid arteries, the major blood vessels in the neck, to detect heart disease. “Quantifying the buildup of the fatty deposits called plaque in the neck vessels can be a predictor of blockages elsewhere,” he explains.

    It’s a relatively new area of research in which his group has already made an impact, he says. “Our results indicate that complete carotid ultrasound may serve as a simple, inexpensive, and low-risk test to rule out significant atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”

    CINQ is also looking at measuring heart function through changes in the heart muscle not visible to the naked eye, using an advanced imaging technology known as  “strain” or  “speckle-tracking.”

    A third study, conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario, will incorporate 3D ultrasound into examining the effects of carnitine, a naturally occurring compound found in the body as well as in some foods, on patients with metabolic syndrome, the multiple conditions associated with heart disease that include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    The study was awarded a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada grant and also received support from the Department of Medicine and the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization (SEAMO).

    A fourth area of research for Dr. Johri's lab is the study of the use of point of care ultrasound and development of training methodologies.

    Advancements in ultrasound are also making a difference in how doctors examine their patients. In collaboration with Anthony Sanfilippo (associate dean, undergraduate medical education) the CINQ lab in 2010 began training medical students to use portable hand-held ultrasound during their physical exams of cardiac patients, making Queen’s School of Medicine one of the first  to apply the emerging technology to clinical practice.

    “All of the above are made possible because of KGH’s commitment to patient-oriented research,” says Dr. Johri. “It’s why I love the idea of the KGH Research Institute, because it supports the idea that research is important.”

    You can follow Dr. Johri on Twitter @amerjohri.

    This story is the fifth in a series on the KGH Research Institute, a collaboration between Queen’s and Kingston General Hospital, and the clinician-scientists recruited to work in the centre.


    At the leading edge of heart and stroke care

    [Dr. Chris Simpson
    Dr. Chris Simpson, chief of cardiology at Queen’s University, medical director of the cardiac program at Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital and president of the Canadian Medical Association, says that advances in technology and treatment have improved the chances of survival and recovery from cardiovascular disease. (University Communications)

    February is Heart and Stroke Month, so the Gazette is reviewing some of the research and innovative new methods being conducted by physicians in the Faculty of Health Sciences who practice at Kingston General Hospital.

    Advances in recent years have drastically changed the outlook for those suffering from cardiovascular disease. A host of new technologies, medications and procedures have increased survival rates and have smoothed out many of the bumps that were once a common part of the recovery process.

    “Cardiovascular disease is no longer the number one cause of death in Canada,” says Dr. Chris Simpson, Chief of Cardiology at Queen’s. “All of the advances, both in technology and treatment, have improved the chances of survival and recovery.”

    One of the areas where Dr. Simpson has been making strides is the utilization of new leadless pacemakers. The current generation of pacemakers are implanted surgically under the skin, with a long wire feeding from the pacemaker into the heart, delivering a pulse when necessary. The new generation have been miniaturized, compressing all of their hardware into a small, thin capsule which screws right into the heart.

    They’re so small that the pacemakers can be implanted without major incisions, going through a vein in the groin and travelling up to the heart. The process creates no scars, requires no stitches and the pacemaker isn’t visible from outside the body.

    “The Achilles heel of pacemaker insertion has always been infection, which will be drastically reduced with the new models,” says Dr. Simpson.

    It’s just one of the many modern improvements to heart treatment happening at KGH-Queen’s.

    Breathing easier

    Dr. Christine D’Arsigny (Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine) is treating arterial hypertension with new medications and has had very encouraging results.

    “These new therapies we’re using have led to a dramatic impact on quality of life for those affected,” she says. “We’re continuing to learn more about the disease and perfecting our medication treatments.”

    Pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the blood vessels within the lungs. Those afflicted are often struck by shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and have a high death rate from the disease, if left untreated. Previously, treatment was limited to IV-therapy and organ transplantation, often not an option for people who were too sick to undergo surgery. This is also true for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, another cause for pulmonary hypertension

    The new drugs Dr. D’Arsigny is prescribing work to dilate the pulmonary vessels and change cell signalling, resulting in better blood flow through the lungs, a decrease in shortness of breath and alleviation of other symptoms. The end result is improved quality of life and improved survival.

    “These oral medications have provided an excellent treatment option,” Dr. D’Arsigny says. “The improvements I’ve seen in some of my patients have been dramatic —I have had some patients go from barely walking without getting short of breath to thinking they can go skiing again.”

    Solving the mystery of strokes

    Promising new research has shed light on one of the longstanding mysteries of strokes. For nearly 30 per cent of stroke victims, the cause of the stroke is not readily apparent after medical examination. A new study, co-authored by Dr. Albert Jin (Neurology) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, takes a big leap forward toward understanding the problem.

    “We typically perform an electrocardiogram that runs for 24 hours, and it’s often not adequate” says Dr. Albert Jin.

    He instead made use of a new cardiac monitoring method that tracked heart behaviour continuously for 30 days. This revealed that many of the strokes were caused by atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm.

    “Our detection rate increased sixfold, showing us that 18 per cent of people had atrial fibrillation," he says. "That translates to hundreds if not thousands of Ontarians each year that now have a recognized cause of stroke that we can treat.”

    Another of the major causes of stroke is the formation of blood clots which restrict circulation to the brain. Dr. Jin is taking part in another new study that seeks to better treat these strokes. Current treatment focuses on medications which target and break up the blood clot; the new study supplements this treatment with ultrasound waves which help to further dissolve the clot.

    By applying ultrasound waves to the brain, Dr. Jin is able to specifically target the clot, complementing the work of the medication. Though there are safety risks for ultrasound waves in lower frequencies (think of the booming bass of car stereo), the study makes use waves in a higher frequency.

    “There’s been ample safety work done and it’s been demonstrated that ultrasound waves tuned to a higher frequency are safe,” Dr. Jin says.

    Though the new study is only just beginning, work being done at KGH-Queen’s is making the prognosis for stroke victims brighter.

    Better data

    Treatment for strokes and heart-related health problems has long been hindered by a lack of information. When searching for the causes of a stroke, for example, technological limitations meant that doctors could only track a patient`s heart pattern for 24 hours at a time. They then had to project that information into the future, assuming the heart would function the same way for weeks at a time. That made heart monitoring a difficult process, says Dr. Adrian Baranchuk (Cardiology).

    “The patient would have to reconnect to the monitor every day. It was inconvenient, it irritated the skin and people had to plan their lives around access to the heart monitor.”

    That’s why Dr. Baranchuk has been eagerly putting into practice new technology that makes the whole process more reliable, safer and less invasive. He’s begun fitting his patients with a new monitor called the Reveal LINQ by Medtronic. At less than two inches in length, the monitor is so small that it removes the need for serious surgical insertion.

    In a procedure that only takes about two minutes to conduct, Dr. Baranchuk makes a minor incision, inserts the monitor and bandages the patient up. The incision’s small size drastically reduces the risk of infection, removing the need for stitches and antibiotics and the monitor can function for three years, providing steady heart rhythm data.

    “As a global approach, heart rhythm monitoring allows you to detect arrhythmias and decide whether someone needs medication, a pacemaker or other treatment,” says Dr. Baranchuk. “This is going to be future of heart monitoring.”

    Project grants promote partnerships

    Two Queen’s researchers have received Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Project Grants.

    Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry, $596,870) and her team are working on the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. James Fraser (Physics, $408,914) and his team are improving the 3D laser manufacturing process.

    Both hydrogen and oxygen need to be generated in water-splitting approaches for the generation of hydrogen fuel in the automotive industry. Dr. Crudden’s team including J. Hugh Horton (Chemistry), Pierre Kennepohl (University of British Columbia), Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz (University of Toronto) and Martin Albrecht (UCD Ireland) is designing a supported catalyst, a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected, to help complete the cycle for hydrogen generation.

    “The development of viable catalysts for production of hydrogen from water using solar energy is the holy grail of energy research, and when accomplished, will revolutionize the way we generate energy, and virtually eliminate pollution from the transportation sector,” says Dr. Crudden.

    Dr. Fraser is working in the field of 3D laser writing. The process scans an intense focused laser beam over a material (such as metal powder) to create a 3D metal component layer by layer directly from a computer drawing. Dr. Fraser is trying to improve this often imperfect technique.

    “This type of manufacturing builds a part up layer by layer and is generally slow,” says Dr. Fraser. “If there is a defect in an early layer, for example an air gap, this might not be detected until the part was completed. The challenge is that there is a lot going on in the laser melting process –hundreds of watts of laser light, glowing liquid steel, occasional sparks and powder being ejected— so it is challenging to see with micron precision.”

    To combat this problem, Dr. Fraser’s team will create and use a coherent imaging technique that views the sample through the same lens that the processing laser uses and can measure the location and changes to the surface of the part. This will reduce the component processing time. The funding also allows the training of nine researchers and students in a key field in Canadian manufacturing.

    For more information on the Strategic Project Grants visit the NSERC website.

    Water warming, a warning

    A study of three remote lakes in Ecuador led by Queen’s University researchers has revealed the vulnerability of tropical high mountain lakes to global climate change – the first study of its kind to show this. The data explains how the lakes are changing due to the water warming as the result of climate change.

    The results could have far-reaching consequences for Andean water resources as the lakes provide 60 per cent of the drinking water for Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador.

    A view of one of the three lakes that were studied during the research.

    “Until recently we knew little about the effects of recent climate changes on tropical high-mountain lakes,” says Neal Michelutti (Biology), lead author and a senior research scientist at Queen’s University’s Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL). “We saw major changes in the algae consistent with the water warming that indicates changes in the physical structure of the water column.”

    Dr. Michelutti and his research team visited three lakes in Cajas National Park. They retrieved water and core samples from the centre of each of the lakes for analysis. The lakes are accessible only by hiking trails and boats are prohibited. There is also no development within the park meaning the lakes are still in pristine condition.

    “Andean societies are amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change,” says Dr. Michelutti. “Warming in the Andes is occurring at a rate nearly twice the global average and it’s already impacting water resources as shown in this research. These changes are also a sign of bigger changes that are coming.”

    Dr. Michelutti and his team are planning to return to the region for further research this summer and will be working with lake managers in the area to try to preserve the water.

    “We have previously recorded similar types of threshold shifts in polar and temperate regions,” says research team member John Smol (Biology). “These changes are harbingers of processes that will likely affect the food chain and reverberate throughout the ecosystem. We now have data showing that lakes from the Arctic to the Andes, and everywhere in between, are rapidly changing due to our impacts on climate.”

    Also working on the research team are Alexander Wolfe (University of Alberta), Colin Cooke (Government of Alberta), William Hobbs (Washington State Department of Ecology) and Mathias Vuille (University at Albany, SUNY).

    To read the study, published in PLOS ONE, visit the PEARL website.

    GeoEngineering Centre's work making a ‘real impact’

    [Dr. Kerry Rowe]
    Kerry Rowe and his colleagues at the GeoEngineering Centre are studying the use and performance of geosynthetics and geomembranes, such as those used to prevent the escape of contaminants from landfills. (University Communications)

    For Kerry Rowe, a fellow of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific society (the Royal Society based in London UK, 1660), and his colleagues in the GeoEngineering Centre, winning awards for their research is nice. However, the real reward, says the professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, is knowing that the work they are doing is having a lasting impact on people’s lives and the environment.

    “While we write papers and win awards, really the most important aspect, at least to me, is the fact that people are using it,” says Dr. Rowe, the Canada Research Chair in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. “It’s affecting regulations around the world. Regulators are using it. Manufacturers are using it. Designers are using it. Manufacturers are using our research as a basis for improving their products. We find something’s not working so well and the manufacturer is going to find a way to make it work better.

    “That’s the real impact of our work. It’s actually being used to protect the environment.”

    Dr. Rowe’s area of study is focused on the use and performance of geosynthetics and geomembranes such as those used to prevent the escape of contaminants from landfills.

    His most recent award, picked up earlier this year, was for the best paper published in 2013 in Geosynthetics International, published by the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK and considered one of the top journals in the field.  The paper, which examines methods of increasing how long a plastic geomembrane used in the bottom liner of a landfill will last, was co-authored by Dr. Rowe, Fady Abdelaal, and Richard Brachman, all of Queen’s.

    Dr. Rowe also won the award in 2013 for an article written with Melissa Chappel, Dr. Brachman and Andrew Take. That team then won the International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of wrinkling in geomembranes” for their pioneering work on this topic.

    Dr. Rowe says he was drawn to the field by Love Canal, an environmental disaster in the 1970s where a neighbourhood was built adhacent to a toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, NY. While many things have improved around landfills in the decades that have followed, one of the biggest issues he’s found is that many of the design guidelines were developed in the late 1980s and 1990s when very little was known about geomembranes and geosynthetics.

    The GeoEngineering Centre is changing that.

    “What we’ve been doing over the past 20 years is really coming to understand the long-term performance of these materials, because they need to last for many, many decades to centuries, depending on the size of the facility, to provide protection,” he says. “We are, I think it’s fair to say, the world leaders in doing that. We’re interested in the long-term performance through accelerated tests but also field testing. We have field test sites literally from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”

    These are some extreme conditions but geosynthetics and geomembranes often face extreme stresses, increasingly in the mining industry for waste materials and tailings. Some of these mining applications are over 200 metres in height, says Dr. Rowe. They are utterly massive.

    “The vast majority of geosynthetics are now sold in the mining industry,” he says. “We are working on heap leach pads and the selection of appropriate geomembranes because they are being used, but no one, until we started doing it, was doing the research.”

    The research is informing designers and helping manufacturers create new products with better performing characteristics.

    “It’s protection of the health and safety of the environment that is the motivation for our work. What we are trying to do is prevent Love Canal-type situations from arising,” he says. “We’ve got a fantastic group of people, in terms of faculty and really tremendous post-docs and graduate students that we have working on this.”

    Support and advocacy for SGPS students

    Employee, teacher and mentor are just a few of the roles that graduate and professional students play while at Queen’s University.

    As an SGPS student adviser, Becky Pero provides confidential advice and support to graduate and professional students. (University Communications)

    To support them in those many roles, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) have student advisers, a team that provides confidential advice and assistance to other SGPS members. Trained in a wide variety of subjects that encompasses university policies and procedures, conflict resolution, active listening, harassment, discrimination and maintaining a positive space, they’re equipped to handle many of the problems that students may face.

    Becky Pero, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography, has worked for the past year as a student adviser.

    “There are challenges that SGPS students face that we don’t talk about,” she says. “They need somebody to listen and hear what they’re saying. Who better to do it than a peer?”

    Created in 2001 in response to the need for advocacy and support services for graduate and professional students, the advisers offer strategic advice for resolving concerns and conflicts. Oriented towards self-advocacy, they aim to give students the tools they need to solve problems on their own, or to direct them to the appropriate service when they need greater support.

    “Students often come to see me with questions about rules, regulations and department-specific procedures, and I set them in the right direction” says Ms. Pero. “Advisers can support students when they go to a difficult meeting or can contact another party on their behalf.”

    Funding for the four student advisers comes from the SGPS as well as the School of Graduate Studies. Each year, the advisers create reports about the issues they’ve seen most consistently and make policy recommendations to keep them from happening again in the future.

    “Graduate and professional students take on a huge challenge when they enter their studies,” says Dinah Jansen, Vice-President (Graduate) of the SGPS. “The majority of students get through their studies without any major problems, but the adviser program exists for those who have faced issues and want to repair relationships or navigate policies.”

    In her role as VP (Graduate), Ms. Jansen oversees the student adviser program and advocates at a system-wide level for SGPS students.

    “Students need advocacy and help, and it can be very useful to have someone listen to your concerns,” she says.

    The advisers can provide help for problems big or small and welcome faculty to refer their students on for advice and support.

    More information can be found at their website

    Taking the talk to another level

    [Heather Stuart]
    Queen’s professor Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair, has helped develop five guidelines to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. (University Communications)

    As with so many aspects of life, when it comes to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, great change can find its start in small actions.

    Queen’s professor and Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair Heather Stuart says she can see a major difference in Canadians’ knowledge and awareness of mental illness since the start of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign three years ago. But at the same time, she says, there remains much to improve.

    “I think there is a bigger awareness than there used to be and now there is more knowledge out there,” says Dr. Stuart (Public Health Sciences). “So people are more knowledgeable about some of the more common conditions like depression, they know what the symptoms are and they know that it should be assessed by a health professional and may need medication.

    “But it’s been harder to change people’s attitudes and their behaviours.”

    As a result, Dr. Stuart and Bell are working to do just that. After the second Let’s Talk lecture last year in Ottawa, Bell asked Dr. Stuart to come up with some concrete, simple things that people can do in their daily lives to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

    “So my idea was very simple, to come up with small things you can do within your day-to-day lives,” she says of the five guidelines. “Things like simple acts of kindness, things you could learn, how you could watch your language, those kinds of things.”

    Five things to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
    1. Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness.
    2. Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs.
    3. Be kind – small acts of kindness speak a lot.
    4. Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen.
    5. Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence

    At the time, she didn’t think the guidelines would go much further but Bell decided to build upon the points. The result is a series of commercials that are now being aired.

    “In my thinking, I thought (the commercials) would (help reduce stigma) because it shows how those little acts of oppression, day-to-day, things we don’t even think about, a turn of phrase, something we think or we do can actually be quite disruptive or hurtful and then it models the good behaviour after that. So it shows how we get into this pattern of bad behavior and what we should do,” Dr. Stuart says. “I thought they were great.”

    She likens the overall campaign against stigma to that of climate change. One person can’t change the situation on their own but a series of small acts combined with those of others can make a real difference.

    “It’s not that everybody can do everything. If you think about it and you come from that perspective there’s something that everybody can do and I think that’s what the message here is,” she says. “Something small that you can do will make a difference.”

    Another key change that Dr. Stuart sees is that people are starting to recognize that the issue is not about mental illnesses themselves but instead society’s response that is causing the most trouble.

    “That’s important, especially if decision-makers figure this out,” says Dr. Stuart. “They are in a position to make a huge difference. They can change policies. They can change structures. They can do a lot. But they have to understand that this is a public health issue and the awareness has grown.”

    Bell Let’s Talk Day is Jan. 28. To learn more about the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, visit letstalk.bell.ca.

    Established in 2012 with a $1 million grant from Bell Let’s Talk to the Queen's Initiative Campaign, the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University is the first research chair in the world dedicated to the fight against the stigma around mental illness.

    Funding fuels cancer research

    With an eye on improving survival rates and the quality of care for cancer patients, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has awarded the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) $3.8 million as part of its Major Science Initiatives.

    The funding provides infrastructure support to the NCIC CTG operations and statistics office at Queen’s University.

    “We are grateful CFI has pledged its support for our mission of conducting important clinical trials that allow cancer patients from across the country to access some of the most cutting-edge cancer treatments available,” says NCIC CTG director Janet Dancey.

    The objective of the funding is to provide CFI funded, state-of-the-art research facilities, enabling researchers to undertake world-class research and technology development. The funding also provides governance and management oversight of these facilities.

    “We undoubtedly have all been touched, one way or another, by cancer and are well aware of the impact it has on our lives and the lives of others,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “The advances in prevention, diagnostics and treatment have been truly remarkable, but there is still much to do. This support from CFI will allow the NCIC Clinical Trials Group at Queen's University to provide the leadership and platform to further their critical role in advancing and implementing new approaches to diagnostics, clinical interventions and new treatments for cancer patients.”

    The NCIC CTG possesses expertise and infrastructure to conduct national and international multicentre phase I-III cancer clinical trials aimed at improving the survival and quality of life of cancer patients. The funding will support cancer investigators across the country and provide them access to novel and comprehensive information technology, expertise in regulatory, ethics, safety, and on-site monitoring requirements necessary to ensure trials are compliant with Health Canada regulations.

    Since its establishment in 1980, the NCIC CTG has conducted 492 trials enrolling more than 77,000 patients. The trials have led to the development and adoption of numerous cancer therapies that have improved the survival and quality of life for cancer patients and delivered a tremendous benefit to thousands of Canadians.

    For more information visit the website.

    The NCIC CTG, a national research program of the Canadian Cancer Society, is the only Canadian co-operative cancer trials group conducting the entire range of cancer trials from early phase (e.g. phase I-II) studies to large international randomized controlled (e.g. phase III) trials across all cancer types. Its primary mission is to assess the effectiveness of interventions to prevent the development of cancer or improve the care of those patients who develop cancer.


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