Montreal-based Scientist Takes on Research Fellowship

Research into promising brain tumour therapies began in Montreal in the summer of 2010 when Dr. Tommy Alain became the first awardee of the William Donald Nash Brain Tumour Research Fellowship. Dr. Alain is based at McGill University and is into the first year of the two-year fellowship which aims to further the understanding of using two new virus-based treatments to enhance outcomes for brain tumour patients.

Dr. Alain explains his interest in the field of neuro-oncology; “I have been interested in the elimination of cancer cells for some time and became initially involved in brain tumours because of a mentor. During my graduate studies, my aunt died of glioblastoma putting my work into even more perspective. So, I am honoured to be the recipient of this important fellowship.” His long-term research goal is to develop new tools to understand and treat brain tumours as well as improve the quality of life of those with the disease.

The fellowship was established in 2009 by the family of William “Bill” Nash, a dairy farmer from Ingersoll, Ontario who was diagnosed with a brain tumour 1992. Prior to passing away in 2007, Bill committed a portion of his estate to the goal of a fellowship program targeting brain research. "Bill certainly wanted a cure for brain tumours to be discovered and he understood the importance of accelerating research to that goal," says Bill’s cousin Vince Nash.

Dr. Alain is researching two promising brain tumour therapies which have been found to work together to eliminate brain tumours and significantly prolong the survival of animal models of brain cancers. The aim is to further the understanding of the possibility of using these therapies in future clinical trials.

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