2019 Funded Researchers

2019 Operating Grant Recipients

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 2018, we invested more than $2.8 million in our Operating Grants, which will support the work of 14 new research projects in addition to those selected in 2017.

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Complete list of 2019 Researchers


 

2019 Operating Grant Award Winners

Dr. Versha Banerji

Dr. Versha Banerji

CancerCare Manitoba  
Winnipeg, Manitoba Draining the batteries: a novel approach to treatment strategies in CLL Cancer cells, specifically chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells are charged with energy when compared to normal B-lymphocytes. We have identified that certain markers on the leukemia cells, such as one called ZAP 70, predicts which cells have higher energy levels. We do not, however, k...

Dr. Lambert Busque

Dr. Lambert Busque

Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont 
Montréal, Québec Role of inflammation in acquired clonal hematopoiesis in aging individuals Aging is associated with the acquisition of small changes (mutations) in the genes of blood cells. Some of these mutations can give a growth advantage to the affected cells, which will outgrow the normal ones. This phenomenon is called Age-Related Clonal Hematopoiesis (ARCH). ...

Dr. Jean-Sébastien Delisle

Dr. Jean-Sébastien Delisle

Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont 
Montréal, Québec Improved T-cell expansion and differentiation for adoptive immunotherapy The injection of immune cells (T-cells) grown in specialized laboratories can be very effective to treat blood cancers. Unfortunately, these immune cells can get “tired” and are less effective at killing cancer cells after their expansion in the laboratory. We have...

Dr. Spencer Gibson

Dr. Spencer Gibson

CancerCare Manitoba​ 
Winnipeg, Manitoba Understanding the role of exosomes/microvesicles in the CLL microenvironment We are studying the most common form of adult leukemia called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Though there are many new treatments available, there is still no cure for CLL. Cancer cells can release particles that contain material that act as messengers to the cells around them...

Dr. Aly Karsan

BC Cancer Agency
Vancouver, British Columbia UFCW Special Recognition Award Recipient 2019 Bypassing resistance to lenalidomide in del(5q) MDS Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a type of blood cancer that have poor outcomes and for which few therapeutic options exist. About 1/3 of MDS patients progress to an incurable acute leukemia, with the rest dying of bone marrow failure. One type of MDS (del(5...

Dr. Robert Kridel

Dr. Robert Kridel

University Health Network   
Toronto, Ontario Enhancing epigenetic therapies in B-cell lymphoma This proposal will focus on aggressive B-cell lymphoma, which represents the most common form of lymphoma in Canada, with over 4,000 new diagnoses per year. Identifying novel treatment strategies for these patients is a critical, unmet need, given that relapse occurs in 40% of patients and is of...

Dr. Florian Kuchenbauer

Dr. Florian Kuchenbauer

BC Cancer Agency
Vancouver, British Columbia Therapeutic targeting of the miR-106a-363 cluster in acute myeloid leukemia Despite improved therapies, the 5-year relative survival for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is currently 21% in Canada, with especially unfavorable prognosis for elderly patients. Therefore, new treatments that target the root of AML, leukemic stem cells (LSCs), are necessary. The curren...

Dr. John Kuruvilla

Dr. John Kuruvilla

University Health Network
Toronto, Ontario​ Exploiting metabolic vulnerabilities in aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) are the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadians and the most prevalent of all the blood cancers. New treatment options are urgently needed for NHL in patients that have cancers that return following primary treatment. To date, novel drug development ...

Dr. Sabine Mai

Dr. Sabine Mai

University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba​ Targeting telomere maintenance in Hodgkin’s lymphoma Inside our cells our genes are arranged along twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres which protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets to how we age and get cancer. Telomere...

Dr. Koren Mann

Dr. Koren Mann

Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital
Montréal, Québec STAT6 mutations in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes that can be treated with chemotherapy, but is often fatal once resistance develops. We profiled mutations in one type of relapsed lymphoma, diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Here we found that the protein STAT6 is more...

Dr. Mark Minden

Dr. Mark Minden

University Health Network
Toronto, Ontario Exploration of nanopore sequencing in the diagnosis and prognosis of AML Many Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) subtypes consistently swap between the same chromosomes (called a translocation). At the time of diagnosis, the translocation is identified and can be monitored after chemotherapy to guide further treatment. This is called residual disease monitoring (RDM)....

Dr. Anastasia Nijnik

Dr. Anastasia Nijnik

McGill University
Montréal, Québec Exploring MYSM1 as a potential drug-target for cMYC-driven B cell lymphoma cMYC is an important regulator of gene expression and abnormal increase in cMYC activity is a major cause of cancer. In recent work we demonstrated that cMYC works together with another protein MYSM1 in the regulation of gene expression in the blood and immune systems. Loss of MYSM1 theref...

Dr. Gilles André Robichaud

Dr. Gilles André Robichaud

Université de Moncton
Moncton, New Brunswick ​ Platelet-packaged organelles: A novel outsourcing of cancer modulators Inflammation is tightly linked with the development and progression of cancer. Amongst the inflammatory components participating in these processes are platelet cells. Platelets, initially discovered as clotting agents, are the second most abundant circulating blood cells in the h...

Dr. Aaron Schimmer

Dr. Aaron Schimmer

University Health Network
Toronto, Ontario​ The Beer Store Special Recognition Award Recipient 2019 Targeting the ubiquitin E1 ligase, UBA1, in AML TAK-243 is a new drug that blocks the cell’s garbage disposal system. We have shown that TAK-243 kills AML cells in culture and mouse models while sparing normal cells. Based on these data, we propose a clinical trial of TAK-243 in patients with refrac...

Dr. Christian Steidl

Dr. Christian Steidl

BC Cancer Agency
Vancouver, British Columbia​ PRAME alterations in DLBCL: Clinical and functional significance Lymphomas are the 5th most common cancers in Canada. The current standard of care in many B cell lymphomas consists of chemotherapy and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, and has significantly improved patient outcomes over the past 15 years. A large proportion of patients, however, suffer fro...

Dr. Thai-Hoa Tran

Dr. Thai-Hoa Tran

CHU Sainte-Justine
Montréal, Québec Diagnosis, prognosis and novel therapy for Ph-like ALL in Canada Co-applicants: Dr. James Whitlock, Dr. Sonia Cellot, Dr. Daniel Sinnett, Dr. Stephen Couban While cure rates for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have improved significantly in the current era, relapse remains the most common cause of treatment failure and death. Teenagers and young ...

Dr. Rosanna Weksberg

Dr. Rosanna Weksberg

The Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Ontario​ Co-applicant: Dr. Hans Hitzler Late neurocognitive deficits in ALL survivors: DNA methylation biomarkers Treatment of childhood leukemia is very effective; however, treatment can interfere with normal brain development in up to 50% of children treated. Brain functions such as attention, memory and intelligence can be affected leading to problems with ...

Dr. Peter W. Zandstra

Dr. Peter W. Zandstra

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia​ Engineering proT-cells from stem cells for adoptive cell immunotherapy In current CAR-T cell therapies, mature T-cells are collected from the patient’s blood, engineered to kill leukemia and lymphoma cells, and transplanted back into the patient. Successful implementation of this strategy is limited by high treatment costs, low cell yields, ...