Doctors and Research
Please check out some of the research projects funded by the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario:
- Enhancing the effectiveness of chemotherapy on ovarian tumours
- Designing and evaluating potential anti-cancer drugs
- Looking for a way to test for endometrial cancer
- Testing the benefits and drawbacks of low-dose chemotherapy
- Identifying how steroid hormones can promote the development of breast cancer
Enhancing the effectiveness of chemotherapy on ovarian tumours
Dr. Micheline Piquette-Miller
University of Toronto, Toronto ON
Only 15-35 per cent of ovarian cancers respond to current chemotherapy drugs, and there is a huge need for better treatments. Dr. Micheline Piquette-Miller’s team is testing new ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly and continuously into ovarian cancer tumours, with the goal of creating more effective treatment with fewer side effects. Dr. Piquette-Miller’s laboratory has developed an implant system that can deliver drug therapy directly to the ovarian tumours
Designing and evaluating potential anti-cancer drugs
Dr. Jean Gariepy
University Health Network, Toronto ON
Dr. Garipey’s research team is using new technology to screen millions of molecules to determine if any of them might work as a potential anti-cancer drug. Dr. Gariepy created a huge array or “library” of similar molecules. Searching through these libraries, his team recently found one that seems to have the potential to work against skin cancer cells and breast cancer cells. They are now determining how this molecule works, and will test it in laboratory-grown cells to see if it will destroy the cancer cells and if it spares healthy cells. If this works, it could be further developed as a potential anti-cancer drug.
Looking for a way to test for endometrial cancer
Dr. K.W. Michael Siu
York University, Toronto ON
In 2003, endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus) was the fourth most common cancer among Canadian women. Currently, women are tested for endometrial cancer if they have certain symptoms or are considered to be at high risk, but the testing methods are expensive and unpleasant for the patient. Dr. Siu’s team is trying to develop a simpler way to detect endometrial cancer by measuring the levels of certain proteins in cancer cells. If successful, their work may lead to simple, inexpensive ways to identify this cancer at an early stage, and thus treat it more successfully.
Testing the benefits and drawbacks of low-dose chemotherapy
Dr. Robert Kerbel
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto ON
Dr. Robert Kerbel’s team was among the first to test a revolutionary new kind of cancer treatment called “metronomic” chemotherapy. Instead of giving cancer patients higher and higher doses of anti-cancer drugs with accompanying side effects for short periods of time, this approach involves giving much lower doses for long periods of time with no break. Although this has numerous advantages (few or no side-effects), this system is very new and little is known about appropriate drug doses and cancers that may become resistant to the drugs. Dr. Kerbel’s team is investigating how to make metronomic chemotherapy work more effectively so that more cancer patients can benefit from it. Dr. Kerbel is focusing on breast, blood, and prostate cancers.
Identifying how steroid hormones can promote the development of breast cancer
Dr. Joseph Torchia
The University of Western Ontario, London ON
Steroid hormones help to control the normal growth and development of many kinds of tissue. They have also been linked to the development of breast cancer. These hormones carry out their activities by binding to specific proteins on cells, called receptors. Dr. Torchia’s team is studying the processes that control steroid hormones and their receptors in order to better understand how hormones control cell growth, and how processes leading to cancer might be avoided or corrected. One molecule that is involved with the process controlling steroid hormones and their receptors is over-produced in breast and ovarian cancer cells. Dr. Torchia is investigating the function of this molecule in normal and cancer cells to determine if it plays a role in the development of cancer.