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Celebrating GCI Success: Cancer Research Society Training Award and Operating Grant Recipients

The Cancer Research Society (CRS) has been supporting cancer research in Canada and fostering the development of future leaders in this field since 1945. Over $355 million has been invested to support this cause through various funding opportunities and initiatives for nearly eight decades. Today, CRS continues its commitment and legacy of advancing Canadian cancer research. This year at the Rosaline and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute, two trainees are recipients of the CRS Training Award and four PIs are funded by the CRS Operating Grants.

Learn more about the Cancer Research Society: Cancer Research Society

Our Trainee Success Story: Awardees Spotlight

This year, we proudly celebrate the successes of Promita Ghosh and Sandrine Busque, recipients of the CRS Doctoral Research Award. This award recognizes the potential and dedication of trainees and offers them an impactful stepping stone toward a career in cancer research. Read more about their research below.

CRS Doctoral Research Award Recipient: Sandrine Busque, 2nd year Biochemistry PhD student, Park lab. Sandrine’s research focuses on metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). She studies tumour cells at each step of chemotherapy treatment to understand why and how resistance to chemotherapy can occur in metastases and how we can prevent it. “This award validates my dedication and efforts and fuels my motivation for my project. I would like to thank everyone in the lab, the GCI core facilities, and our collaborators for their contributions to my research. A special thank you goes to the cancer patients who donate their tissue for research and the generous donors,” shares Sandrine. In parallel with her graduate studies, Sandrine co-leads the Research Initiative Outreach Team (RIOT), a group dedicated to bridging the gap between the public and the latest advances in cancer research. “Engaging with the team, as well as the patients and their families through RIOT events not only strengthens my enthusiasm but also deepens my passion for cancer research.” Find out more about RIOT and connect with Sandrine on LinkedIn.

CRS Doctoral Research Award Recipient: Promita Ghosh, 3rd year Biochemistry PhD student, Park lab. Non-small cell lung cancer, which makes up about 80% of all lung cancer cases, is a highly diverse disease marked by various histological features and multiple genetic alterations or mutations. Promita’s research focuses on one such mutation known as “MET exon 14 skipping” which occurs early in lung cancer development and is highly cancerous promoting tumor progression, relapses, and therapeutic resistance. Promita shares that “This support not only eases my financial burdens which allows me to focus full-time on my research but also opens doors to new networking and collaboration opportunities essential for the successful completion of my research project. In the long run, this scholarship will set the foundation for my academic career and will pave the way for future recognition, including grants, fellowships and new collaborations which are essential to conduct impactful research.” To learn more about Promita, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Leading the Way: CRS 2023 Operating Grants Recipients

The Operating Grant is the principal means by which the Cancer Research Society fulfills its mission to support fundamental, early translational and environment-cancer research on all types of cancer to contribute to the advancement of science aimed at preventing, detecting and treating this disease (adapted from Cancer Research Society). This year, CRS allocated $10.4 million for 83 projects, including four that are led by GCI PIs.

Prof. Morag Park is funded by the CRS partnership with the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation on her investigation of B7-H4 as a therapeutic target in poor-outcome TNBCs. “This project conducted by Prof. Stephanie Duhamel, Ph.D., and myself aims at understanding the role of B7-H4 in cancer progression and modulation of the tumour immune microenvironment to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for TNBC. CRS supports innovative research allowing us to take new discoveries and demonstrate their impact on cancer. This support is a lifeline for our research.”

Prof. Vincent Giguère is also recipient of a 2023 Operating Grant for his work on the Oncogenicity of ESRRA hotspot mutations in triple negative invasive luminal breast cancer carcinomas: “My team having considerable [experience] in the study of ERRa, a nuclear receptor encoded by this gene, has now received funding from the Cancer Research Society to explore the contribution of these ESRRA mutations in promoting this rare subtype of TN breast cancer.”

Prof. William Muller continues his work on the identification of Stat1 signaling pathway(s) involved in mediating tumor escape from immune surveillance supported by the CRS in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Cancer Research. “Our current CRS funding will allow us to evaluate whether activation of HER2 and Stat1 observed in cancer recurrence are responsible for emergence of dormancy. We envision that by studying the changes and characterizing the compensatory mechanisms as tumors transition from dormant to recurrent, we will uncover druggable targets that can synergize with current therapies to avert breast cancer recurrence and improve patient outcome.”

Prof. Nahum Sonenberg’s work on targeting mRNA translation as a therapeutic strategy for breast cancer via eIF4E is funded by the CRS partnership with the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.

The continued dedication of the Cancer Research Society to fund groundbreaking research and support trainee talents at the GCI underscore the importance of such support and inspire future generations to continue the fight against cancer. We thank the Cancer Research Society’s commitment to its mission and paving the way for innovation.

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