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About Sickkids
About SickKids

September 16, 2015

Terry Fox Foundation grants $2.2 million to SickKids cancer research

By Kayla Redstone

Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) will receive $2.2 million from the Terry Fox Foundation over the next three years to continue their research on a rare cancer predisposition condition called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. This week the foundation announced Program Project grants of $16 million to four cancer research teams across Canada to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) is a hereditary disorder that leads to an almost 100 per cent risk of developing a wide range of cancers in both children and adults. Dr. David Malkin, Senior Scientist and Staff Oncologist at SickKids, and Medical Director, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, and his co-investigators are working to find better ways to predict the type and age of onset of cancer in patients with LFS. The team’s ultimate goals are to develop a blood test that detects cancer earlier and to identify treatments to prevent cancer from developing in patients who are at risk. Malkin is working with four other investigators on the project—three from SickKids and one from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

It takes a multidisciplinary team to tackle these research questions from different angles. Here at SickKids, Drs. Adam Shlien and Anna Goldenberg use sequencing and computational models to study genetic changes in LFS cancers, while Malkin is looking for genetic changes in the blood that modify the patient’s risk to develop cancer. Dr. Andrea Doria uses innovative cancer imaging strategies to improve early detection in the body. In Halifax, Dr. Jason Berman uses zebra fish to model the syndrome to identify new drug treatments.

“All of this can only be done with something like the Terry Fox Program Project because it brings all of these teams together so that the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts,” says Malkin.

The funds are granted through the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), the foundation’s research arm. The TFRI’s Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant gives money annually to groups conducting innovative research in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant and this year’s recipients please see the TFRI news release.

Watch Dr. David Malkin discuss detecting and preventing tumours in families living with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome: