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Prostate Cancer Canada and the Movember Foundation Announce $4M in Research Grants

Researchers in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver use genetics to find more personalized treatment options for prostate cancer patients

Toronto, October 23, 2018 – Prostate Cancer Canada and the Movember Foundation today announced $4 million in funding to three Canadian researchers to predict how well prostate cancer will respond to treatment, based on men’s biological markers, specifically in their tumour cells and blood – opening a path to more personalized care with fewer side effects and a better chance of survival. The grants have been awarded to Dr. Tarek Bismar from the University of Calgary, Dr. Hansen He from University Health Network and Dr. Kim Chi from BC Cancer.  This research aims to determine how we can use a man’s tumour biology to offer better care to men at three critical stages of their prostate cancer journey.

For more than a decade, Prostate Cancer Canada and the Movember Foundation have partnered to fund nearly $100 million in ground-breaking research with some of the best minds in prostate cancer research across Canada.

“Today, we can’t effectively identify how well men will respond to treatment. If we can understand that, we can select the best option for the prostate cancer a man has. Drs. Bismar, He and Chi will search for markers in a man’s tumour biology and genetics to help determine the severity,” says Stuart Edmonds, Vice President, Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship, Prostate Cancer Canada. “These researchers understand that predicting outcomes at various stages of the disease will solve a significant problem for treating prostate cancer effectively – improving outcomes and avoiding unnecessary treatments that have significant side effects and are expensive.”

“Too many men still die from prostate cancer, and the only way to change this is to fund cutting-edge research that leads to both better testing and new treatments,” says Ken Aucoin, Country Director Canada, the Movember Foundation. “We are committed to not just extending life expectancy for men with prostate cancer but also improving their quality of life as well.  That’s why we invest in projects which will lead to personalized treatments and avoid unnecessary side effects from treatments that won’t work for them.”
Grant awardees: Dr Tarek Bismar, Dr. Hansen He, Dr. Kim Chi
Grant recipients: Dr Tarek Bismar, Dr. Hansen He, Dr. Kim Chi
Dr. Tarek Bismar, University of Calgary will study low-risk prostate cancer that has not spread outside the prostate and is likely to be slow growing. Active surveillance can allow men to delay or avoid aggressive treatments like radiation and surgery and their subsequent side effects. However, many men choose these invasive treatments because they fear their cancer will become aggressive. Dr. Bismar’s goal is to see if individual biological factors tested at diagnosis can determine which men will develop aggressive prostate cancer, giving men on active surveillance clear information with which to make their treatment choice.

Dr. Hansen He, University Health Network will study men diagnosed with cancer which has not spread outside the prostate and is classified as intermediate-risk, meaning there is a higher likelihood it will grow more quickly than the low-risk disease. He will use genetic markers to determine if these men should be treated with aggressive treatments like surgery or can opt for less invasive active surveillance.

Dr. Kim Chi, BC Cancer will study men with advanced prostate cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body, and is currently incurable. Using an approach called liquid biopsy, Dr. Chi will use markers from blood tests, to determine which treatment option will work best for men with advanced prostate cancer. In its final testing stages, if this trial is successful, the results could have an immediate impact on how men are treated.

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For more information:

Arden Bagni
Manager, Communications
Prostate Cancer Canada
416-441-2131 ext 264
Jo-Anne Stayner
Fresh Public Relations
About Prostate Cancer Canada

Prostate Cancer Canada is the leading national foundation dedicated to the elimination of the most common cancer in men through research, advocacy, education, support and awareness. As one of the largest charitable investors in prostate cancer research in Canada, Prostate Cancer Canada is committed to continuous discovery in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and support. Learn more at prostatecancer.ca. Prostate Cancer Canada is proud to have been named one of Canada’s top 3 health charities for efficiency and financial transparency in the Financial Post’s 2017 Charities of the Year list. 

About the Movember Foundation

The Movember Foundation has one goal: to stop men dying too young. As the leading charity changing the face of men’s health, the Foundation supports the following causes: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million men and women has funded over 1,200 innovative projects across 20 countries. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.
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