2010 Research Grants

Seven Canadian researchers were awarded the 2010 research grants to further investigation into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours. The annual grants-in-aid program received 18 applications in 2010 and the seven Canadian researchers were awarded more than $150,000.

Congratulations to all seven researchers. Thank you for all of the work that you do to bring hope to everyone on the journey with a brain tumour.

Research Project Award Summaries:

Dr. Caroline Chung, at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario will evaluate a variety of biomarkers to guide individualized therapy for patients with brain metastasis.

Dr. Kim Edelstein, at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario will explore the developmental impact of both brain tumours and radiation therapy on adolescent and young adult brain tumour survivors.

Dr. Barbara Fisher of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario will explore how to precisely identify the point in time when brain tumours start to recur in order to offer additional treatment at the optimal time.

Dr. Marshall W. Pitz, at Cancer Care Manitoba in Winnipeg will explore the molecular markers of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) brain tumours which will enable the identification of key therapeutic targets and assist in personalized care for those diagnosed with GBMs.

Research Outcome: Through Dr. Pitz’s glioblastoma multiforme study, a unique group of uniformly treated patients with both complete clinical data and brain tumour tissue samples was established.

The project opens the door to further research into additional biomarkers that could improve patient outcomes in the future, and possibly lead to more or better treatments for patients facing the challenges of the most aggressive brain tumour: glioblastoma multiforme. The original study, which was partially funded by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, evaluated markers of tumour hypoxia (lack of oxygen reaching tissue) and the significance this could have on therapeutic options for glioblastoma patients.

Dr. Arjun Sahgal, at University Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network will explore the optimal timing and type of treatment for low grade Astrocytoma brain tumours as well as the impact of treatment on health care resources and quality of life.

Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, will examine the role of proteins in both the development of brain tumours and possible treatments.

Research Outcome: We showed that DHX29 is a translation initiation factor and is involved in tumorigenesis. In fact, expression of DHX29 is increased in several types of cancer such as glioblastoma and silencing DHX29 in these tumors would inhibit cancer cell proliferation and therefore tumor growth. Depletion of DHX29 expression in these cancer cells and animal models causes a three-fold reduction in cell proliferation and tumor growth, providing a novel means by which tumorigenesis can be suppressed. Importantly, DHX29 depletion did not inhibit cell proliferation and survival in normal cells, suggesting that DHX29 depletion specifically targets cancer cells, and could be applied as an approach to control tumor growth. We also found that DHX29 expression in some human tumors is inversely correlated with survival, an indication of its potential as a prognosis factor in future studies. Read more...

Dr. Slav Yartsev, of London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario will monitor brain tumours’ response to radiation treatment through a new type of CT test.


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