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Improving Cancer outcomes through translational research is priority for new Terry Fox Research Institute node and Atlantic Partners

Courtesy of Terry Fox Research Institute
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Released Monday, April 12th, 2010

St. John's, Newfoundland -- The Terry Fox Research Institute today announced the launch of a new partnership with cancer research, academic and health care organizations in the four Atlantic Provinces that will focus on translational research to help improve cancer outcomes for patients here. The announcement was made in St. John's today on the 30th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope.

The six institutions and TFRI have agreed to work toward the common goal of improving cancer outcomes for citizens of Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They will work through a new "node" of the research institute. Atlantic Canada has the highest incidences of and mortality from cancer in the country. Translational research is a term used for moving discoveries quickly from the laboratory into the clinic for the benefit of cancer patients.

"The launch of this node is important for many reasons, the most important being this represents an important step forward for us to work together to improve outcomes for cancer patients in Atlantic Canada.  We look forward to, in the spirit of Terry Fox, a great partnership with the research and clinical communities in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island," says Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director.

"Our government is pleased with the launch of a new Atlantic Node of the Terry Fox Research Institute," said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Health and Community Services. "Our government is committed to investing in cancer prevention and treatment, with the goal of preventing cancer and improving outcomes for those living with it.  We recognize the opportunity today's announcement will present for both our province and all Atlantic Canadians. I commend the Fox family for their continued commitment to carrying out Terry's legacy by working to improve cancer outcomes throughout the country."

The institutions that have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with TFRI to collaborate on translational cancer research projects are: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Cancer Network, Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, and the University of Prince Edward Island.

"Memorial University is committed to this new partnership to improve outcomes for cancer patients," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, president pro tempore of Memorial. "We have strengths in many areas of cancer research and knowledge translation. By partnering with researchers and clinical specialists in Atlantic Canada, we can improve the outcomes of cancer patients everywhere."

Representatives from the four Atlantic governments, partner institutions, researchers and health professionals, cancer survivors, and members of the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute gathered at the Terry Fox Monument near the site where Terry dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean. Terry's parents Betty and Rolly, brother Fred and sister Judi were also present.

"From the very beginning, from this day forward 30 years ago, Terry challenged us all to work together to eradicate cancer. He would be so thankful and proud that we have continued to run and walk together. We are confident TFRI will build on 30 years of cancer research investment and the advances that have improved survival rates while reducing the suffering cancer causes," said Betty Fox.

The creation of an Atlantic Node is a significant milestone for the newly established Terry Fox Research Institute.  Formed in 2007 with an investment of $50 million from the Terry Fox Foundation over five years, the Institute is focused on translational cancer research. This kind of research involves moving laboratory discoveries rapidly into the clinic and health centres where patients can benefit.  While virtual and headquartered in Vancouver, the institute has now partnered with over 40 of the nation's top cancer research, academic and health care institutes and 175 scientists and clinicians from across the country.

Halifax surgeon Dr. Michael Johnston of the QEII Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie University has been named Atlantic Node Leader. He will work with the research and clinical partners in all four provinces and serve on TFRI's executive.

The morning launch announcement began a one-day Atlantic Summit hosted by TFRI and the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador that included a research symposium for Memorial University students and health care professionals about TFRI's research projects and an evening public dialogue on "Patient-Centred Care in a Personalized Treatment World."  The dialogue included participants from all four Atlantic Provinces, including representatives for the MOU partners. The event was available via web cast to the region and will be available soon at www.tfri.ca

In September 2008 TFRI launched the Early Detection Lung Cancer Study with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.  To date it has recruited over 1,660 participants in the study and found 29 cases of cancer. (Note: TFRI will be expanding the seven-city study shortly to recruit and enroll participants in St. John's.)

For more information, contact:

Kelly Curwin                                                           

TFRI Chief Communications Officer                 

kcurwin@tfri.ca; mobile: 778-237-8158      

 

Tansy Mundon

Director of Communications

Department of Health and Community Services

709-729-1377, 685-2646

tansymundon@gov.nl.ca

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