Cancer patients in Ontario live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than ever before because of advances in research. Today Cancer Care Ontario announced the 2009 recipients of the Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs, a program that will further strengthen Ontario's cancer research capacity.
"At one point or another every Ontarian will be touched by cancer," said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. "The Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs will help to build Ontario's research capacity to focus on quickly translating research findings into improvements in cancer services and patient care."
Ontario has a strong research environment that produces findings recognized at the highest levels of research in Canada and on the global stage. The Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs program, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, is designed to attract leading new scientists to Ontario and support outstanding scientists already working in the province. The Program focuses on four important areas - cancer imaging, health services research, population studies and experimental therapeutics. It links researchers across Ontario and supports scientific efforts to translate research findings into clinical practice, including clinical trials.
The 2009 awards are for five years and are renewable for another three years. Two levels of awards were provided. Scientists at the beginning of their careers will receive $500,000 over five years and more established scientists will be awarded $1 million over five years.
The six Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs announced today are:
Dr. Ralph DaCosta, Princess Margaret Hospital, for cancer imaging. Dr. DaCosta will develop a comprehensive research program at the University Health Network (UHN) that will explore ways to apply advanced imaging technologies to detecting and treating disease.
Dr. Nancy Baxter, St. Michael's Hospital, for health services. Dr. Baxter's research will include evaluating surgical treatment trends and treatment outcomes, the effectiveness of cancer screening, and the long-term consequences of cancer diagnosis and care for cancer survivors.
Dr. Joanne Kotsopoulos, Women's College Hospital, for population studies. Dr. Kotsopoulos will study why women who have a family history of breast cancer, but do not carry the gene for familial breast cancer, still have a high risk of developing the disease.
Dr. Gregory Czarnota, Odette Cancer Centre, for cancer experimental therapeutics and cancer imaging. Dr. Czarnota's research will use ultrasound imaging to monitor a patient's progress during treatment so that the treatment can be modified if it is not working. He is also developing methods for using ultrasound to treat cancer.
Dr. Geoffrey Liu, Princess Margaret Hospital, for experimental therapeutics and population studies. Dr. Liu's research will examine how variations in patients' genetic makeup influence their response to cancer treatment. He will also study how variation in tumour genetic makeup affects the course of the disease.
Dr. Lillian Siu, Princess Margaret Hospital, for experimental therapeutics. Dr. Siu's research focus is the study of new anticancer drugs, especially in the first stage of clinical testing and in patients with head and neck cancer.
Applications were evaluated by the panel on the basis of scientific excellence and strategic alignment with the four research themes of Cancer Care Ontario's scientist network program.
Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services. As the government's cancer advisor, Cancer Care Ontario works to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and make sure that patients receive better care every step of the way.