MSFHR, BC Cancer Foundation partner to support research

6 December 2011

More than 23,000 British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and one in three British Columbians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. These sobering figures demonstrate a pressing need for research initiatives to develop improved treatment solutions that will directly benefit the health of patients.

Since 2005, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has partnered with the BC Cancer Foundation to support promising young scientists engaged in leading-edge cancer research. To date, this partnership has invested more than $285,000 in support of 11 exceptional trainees working in all areas of cancer research.

For the 2011 Research Trainee competition, four researchers have been jointly funded by MSFHR and the BC Cancer Foundation:

  • Dr. Vincenzo Giambra is working to identify cancer stem cells in a type of blood cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). The goal is to develop a drug that specifically targets and kills these cancer stem cells, causing the cancer to regress.
  • Dr. Kevin Bin Liang Lin is researching the role of a particular gene, Ahi-1, in the development and progression of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This knowledge will be applied to develop better diagnostics and eventually better treatments for patients with CML.
  • Dr. Alicia Tone is investigating how endometriosis-associated inflammation can influence the development of ovarian cancer by studying the specific role that the ARID1A gene plays in inflammation. This study will help improve our understanding of how endometriosis may be linked to ovarian cancer, pointing to the development of new preventive strategies.
  • Dr. Joanna Wegrzyn Woltosz is researching the molecular mechanism of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and identifying targets of a new drug currently used in MDS treatment. The findings of this study will suggest novel steps towards the development of better therapies that will improve quality of life and increase survival for MDS patients.

About the BC Cancer Foundation

The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge. As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, the BC Cancer Foundation enables donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. Research is funded with the goal of finding solutions.

As an independent charitable organization, the BC Cancer Foundation raises funds exclusively for the BC Cancer Agency that support innovative cancer research and compassionate enhancements to patient care.

Visit to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.