Quest for the cure
Manitoba is an important centre for cancer research, thanks in part to projects funded by the Manitoba Health Research Council and CancerCare Manitoba Foundation under a program that supports world-class graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral students
|The MHRC-CCMB team, from left: Dr. Spencer Gibson, Dr. Shannon Healy, Dr. Sandrine Lafarge, Dilshad Khan, and Heather Champion.
BY JOEL SCHLESINGER
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, May / June 2012
The fight against cancer is a neverending
series of battles on a global
scale. And although recent studies
suggest more people are winning
their personal battles against this
disease, it remains the No. 1 cause of
death among Canadians, claiming the
lives of 75,000 people last year alone.
As a result, researchers around the
world are working to crack cancer's
secrets in a bid to enhance treatments
and perhaps come up with a cure.
Some of this important work is
taking place right here in Manitoba,
according to Dr. Spencer Gibson,
Director of Research for CancerCare
Manitoba and Manitoba Research Chair
at the Department of Biochemistry and
Medical Genetics at the University of
Manitoba's Faculty of Medicine.
"It's research that will help us
understand why cancer is a killer, why it
keeps coming back, how we can develop
better therapies to target cancer and not
healthy cells, and how we can make
existing therapies better," Gibson says of
the work taking place in this province.
Four graduate and post-doctoral
students at the University of
Manitoba are playing an integral role in
the ongoing effort to eradicate cancer.
Funded jointly by the Manitoba
Health Research Council (MHRC) and
CancerCare Manitoba Foundation
through the MHRC Co-ordinated Trainee
Competition, they are able to carry out
research that may someday lead to new
treatments and maybe even a cure.
Since 2008, the MHRC Co-ordinated
Trainee Competition has provided
essential funding to world-class
graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral
students to pursue groundbreaking
research on cancer.
"The funding that we give here is to
support the trainee in recognizing their
expertise, allowing them to succeed,"
says Gibson. "It focuses on the trainees'
success so that they can go on and have
an impact on the understanding and
treatment of cancer and then be future
leaders in cancer research to the various
areas that they go on to in the future."
This special report, sponsored by the
highlights some of
||Unlocking cancer's secrets
For decades, scientists have known cancer is caused when a cell divides uncontrollably, invading new cells, attaching to organs, entering the bloodstream and spreading to the rest of the body.
Can cancer be tricked into killing itself, or at least making itself more vulnerable to treatments such as chemotherapy?
||Targeting the tumour
Radiation therapy is one of three most common treatments for cancer, along with chemotherapy and surgery.
||Kicking cancer out of its home
Why one person gets cancer, while another who lives the same lifestyle doesn't, has long been a focus of researchers.
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the May / June 2012 issue of Wave