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2017 Funded Researchers

Donations to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada contribute to blood cancer research funding. There are many scientists in hospitals and cancer centres across the country who are looking for financial support in order to start or continue their projects in blood cancer research. 

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada has a long-standing history of funding cancer research that began in 1955 when five Toronto women concerned about the lack of leukemia research started fundraising. Today, we are the largest voluntary health agency in Canada that is dedicated not only to leukemia but to all types of blood cancers. 

In 2017, we invested $4.1 million in blood cancer research – our largest annual investment in research since our inception. A part of this year’s investment supported our Operating Grants for 2017 through which 15 scientists, in addition to those selected in 2016, were added to a growing list of blood cancer research we currently fund.

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2017 Operating Grant Award Winners

Dr. Arrowsmith

University Health Network   
Toronto, Ontario Discovering epigenetic vulnerabilities in poor prognosis Some leukemia groups are very difficult to treat and the patients have poor survival. We propose to investigate how to inhibit the driving factor in these leukemias by targeting the epigenetic processes that the driver is dependent on. The inhibition will be achieved by drug-like molecule...

Dr. DaCosta

Dr. DaCosta

University Health Network   
Toronto, Ontario Real-Time Monitoring of Leukemic Stem Cells in the Bone Marrow  Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) arises in the bone marrow, but we know little about how cells enter, live and exit the bone marrow. A better understanding of AML behavior will help optimize the delivery of emerging immunotherapies and improve outcomes. We will use imaging methods...

Dr. Danska

Dr. Danska

Hospital for Sick Children     
Toronto, Ontario The RANK-RANKL axis in B-ALL Nearly 90% of children with B cell leukemia (B-ALL) are cured. However, many survivors have late effects of the disease including secondary cancers and bone fractures. Cure rates for children who relapse are much poorer due to chemotherapy resistance. How can we protect childhood survivors from late eff...

Dr. Di Noia

Dr. Di Noia

Clinical Research Institute of Montreal
Montréal, Québec AID expression sensitizes B cell lymphoma to UNG inhibition    A large proportion of non-Hodgkin lymphomas become resistant to the available therapies, so new alternatives are needed. We propose to exploit a vulnerability created by the enzyme AID, which is present in many lymphomas, to specifically target these cancer cells. ...

Dr. Gunning

Dr. Gunning

University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario         Preclinical development of an anti-AML small molecule, JP-4-94 Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults. Worldwide, AML affects forty individuals per million annually. The majority of AML patients respond to toxic chemotherapy initially, but due to therapy resistant relapses, the 5-year ...

Dr. Hebert

Dr. Hebert

Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, centre de recherché
Montréal, Québec Development of new prognostic markers in acute myeloid leukemia  Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a deadly cancer treated with intensive chemotherapy to achieve remission followed by consolidation treatment to prevent relapse. Consolidation with chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation is chosen according to the risk of relapse wh...

Dr. Jiang

Dr. Jiang

BC Cancer Agency
Vancouver, British Columbia An innovative approach to selectively target dormant leukemic stem cells Despite encouraging advances in the treatment of leukemia, many blood cancers resist therapy or come back after initially responding. This is because the inability of current therapies to eradicate slow-growing blood cancer stem cells and their supporting cells in the bone marrow. This pr...

Dr. Karsan

Dr. Karsan

BC Cancer Agency    
Vancouver, British Columbia Mechanisms of Lenalidomide resistance  Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a type of blood cancer that has very few types of treatment available. The aim of this project is to understand why patients with a specific type of MDS become resistant to the only treatment they have available. We hope that understanding this mechanism will ...

Dr. Kridel

Dr. Kridel

University Health Network   
Toronto, Ontario Developing a biomarker for limited-stage follicular lymphoma Our proposal focuses on a particular subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, namely follicular lymphoma. We will study tumour biopsies from those patients who have disease that is localized, meaning that it is amenable to treatment using radiation therapy. Unfortunately, half of these patien...

Dr. Lee

Dr. Lee

University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario Impact of a CMV-induced NK cell subset in cancer therapy Host and virus interactions have been established over millions of years of evolution, exhibiting multifaceted consequences. Notably, some interactions are uniquely advantageous to hosts. A recently identified subset of long-lasting Natural Killer (NK) cells that develop post-cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection appe...

Dr. Marshall

Dr. Marshall

University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba Role of follicular helper T cell subsets in chronic lymphocytic leukemia Leukemia cells disrupt the immune system by invading immunological tissues such as lymph nodes and bone marrow, where they interact with other cells that help the leukemia proliferate and become resistant to chemotherapy. Dr. Marshall’s group has discovered specific abnormalities of T lymp...

Dr. Munshi

Dr. Munshi

Mount Sinai Hospital 
Toronto, Ontario         Critical Care Outcomes in Hematologic Malignancy and Stem Cell Transplant Patients with leukemia (blood cancer) may become critically ill because of their disease or complications of treatment; and may require intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Approximately 1/3 of patients die in ICU, and survivors may be left with ...

Dr. Sauvageau

Dr. Sauvageau

University of Montréal
Montréal, Québec Podoplanin is a key new player in acute promyelocytic leukemia   Acute promyelocytic leukemias (APL) are uniquely characterized by frequent severe bleeding episodes which are the leading cause of early deaths in these patients. Our proposal capitalizes on a new observation that involves the protein podoplanin as a novel player involved in these complic...

Dr. Spaner

Dr. Spaner

Sunnybrook Research Institute
Toronto, Ontario Recipient of the 2017 UFCW Canada Award for Leukemia Research Improving Ibrutinib therapy in chronic leukemia by targeting janus kinases      Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the commonest leukemia in Canada and is often fatal. A new drug called Ibrutinib has been of great help to CLL patients but does not cure them. Dr....

Dr. Therrien

Dr. Therrien

University Of Montréal
Montréal, Québec Characterization of leukemia-causing oncogenes using Drosophila Acute myeloid leukemia or AML is a cancer of blood cells. Despite significant progress in recent years, a considerable proportion of afflicted children (40%) and adults (60%) still succumbs to the disease. Based on the conservation of cell division mechanisms among multicellular organisms, we exploi...