2016 Recipients

This year, the Rossy Cancer Network will fund $440,000 in Research Funds, enabling the completion of five projects.

The grants will focus on 3 major cancers that affect our patient population: breast, lung and prostate cancer.  

The 2016 Rossy Cancer Network CQI Research Fund recipients are: (in alphabetical order, by principal investigator)

(From left to right:) RCN Clinical Lead Wilson Miller, Lorenzo Ferri (standing in for Jonathan Spicer), Steven Grover, Alice Dragomir, Faiz Ahmad Khan, John Kildea and Ari Meguerditchian, the CQI Program Lead.

Lung cancer in Nunavik: how are we doing? (Nunavimmi puvakkut kaggutimik aanniaqarniq - qanuilirqitaa?)
Canada’s Inuit have the highest rate of lung cancer in the world, but little is known about how their survival following a diagnosis of lung cancer compares to that of non-Inuit populations. Studies in other countries have shown that Indigenous lung cancer patients have a greater risk of death compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. This study will compare survival following a diagnosis of lung cancer between Inuit and non-Inuit patients in McGill University hospitals, determine whether differences could be because Inuit are less likely to get diagnosed in early stages due to geographic isolation and the limited medical resources in their villages, and explore factors in their lung cancer investigation pathways that could contribute to late diagnosis and worse survival due to challenges in access and quality of care. Results will be used to develop interventions to improve lung cancer outcomes in this unique population that is heavily burdened by lung cancer.

Faiz Ahmad Khan will lead a JGH-MUHC-RRSSS Nunavik team, including Jason Agulnik, Andrea Benedetti, Nathalie Boulanger, Sophie Camileri-Broet, Nicole Ezer, Anne Gonzalez, Scott Owen, Carmela Pepe, Alexandre Semionov, Jonathan Spicer and Hangjun Wang.


Quality of end-of-life of patients with prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men and typically affects older men. This cancer often progresses slowly, consequently, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to succumb to other diseases that affect the elderly such as heart disease, stroke, and other more aggressive cancers. However, the instances where prostate cancer is ultimately fatal may lead to cancer-related complications which affect quality of life and increase the use of health services such as doctor visits, drugs, palliative radiotherapy, and surgeries. Overuse of health services is likely associated with a negative impact on quality of life. This project aims to uncover if men dying of prostate cancer see an increased use of medical services in the end-of-life period, compared to men with prostate cancer who die of other diseases. Healthcare administrative databases from across Quebec will be used to determine the rates of health services utilization. The results of the study will help understand if quality of life in men dying of prostate cancer differs from that of men with prostate cancer dying of other causes.

Alice Dragomir will lead an MUHC-JGH team, including Armen Aprikian, Franck Bladou, Fabio Cury and  Marie Vanhuyse.


The Breast Cancer Healthy Aging Program (BCHAP) - Developing an e-Health Program to Increase Daily Exercise and Reduce the Fatigue Associated with Breast Cancer
The Breast Cancer Healthy Aging Program will develop and evaluate a web-based e-health program to help women with breast cancer minimize the fatigue associated with treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, while reducing their future risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. Using input from women with breast cancer, the team will develop a health promotion platform on the internet to provide women with access to an e-health program (in French or English). This will use web-based exercise challenges that have been proven to increase physical activity while reducing blood pressure, weight, emotional distress and sleep difficulties while also giving them access to health assessments, education modules, training, and online challenges to support behaviour change and long-term adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

Steven Grover will lead a MUHC-SMHC team, including Deborah Da Costa, Laurie Hendren, Tarek Hijal, Lawrence Joseph, Ilka Lowensteyn, Donna Stern, Philip Wong.


Rectal toxicity prediction using accumulated-DVHs determined from daily CBCT imaging for hypo-fractionated radiotherapy of the prostate
Gastrointestinal complications following pelvic radiotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer have a negative impact on patients’ quality of life. Chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, perineal pain or fecal incontinence are some of the potential complications that may occur. Any metric that will allow the clinician to better predict complications and to adjust the treatment plan accordingly has the potential to reduce complications and thereby improve the quality of life of prostate cancer survivors. This study will examine if measuring the dose that is actually delivered to the rectum over the course of radiotherapy, as opposed to just the dose that was planned to be delivered, may be used as a predictor of gastrointestinal complications.

John Kildea will lead an MUHC-JGH team, including Fabio Cury, Sergio Faria, Tarek Hijal, Tamim Niazi and Luis Souhami.


Establishing QUALity CARE for patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (EQUAL CARE MPM)
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive cancer caused primarily by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, a construction product used until the 1980s that continues to be present in many buildings. It is an extremely lethal disease with only 5% of patients still alive 5 years after diagnosis. MPM affects about 150 people per year in Quebec, with the number rising each year. Making a diagnosis of MPM is difficult and most patients experience significant delays from the time they develop symptoms, to diagnosis and further delays before obtaining treatment. These delays contribute to poor outcomes for these patients and many patients never receive proper treatment or timely access to palliative care. The EQUAL CARE MPM aims to develop a comprehensive program that will get patients diagnosed and treated faster, and offer palliative care when appropriate in order to improve care and quality of life for these patients.

Jonathan Spicer will lead an MUHC-JGH team, including Hani Al-Halabi, Hitesh Bhanabhai, Stèphane Beaudouin, Lorenzo Ferri, David Mulder, Linda Ofiara, Carmela Pepe and Monisha Sudarshan.


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