2020 Research Funding

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.

2020 Clinician Scientist Fellow Award (in partnership with CIHR)

The intent of the Clinician Scientist Fellow Award is to encourage early-stage specialist clinicians to pursue a career in blood cancer research. This opportunity is designed to foster the acquisition of skills and independence to conduct research in blood cancers at the laboratory, clinical or combined levels.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Clinician Scientist Fellow Award, Dr. Ryan Stubbins. 

Precision Medicine for Myeloid Malignancies with 5-Azacitidine

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remain significant clinical challenges, with only a fraction of patients achieving long-term survival. The most commonly used therapy in North America is 5- azacitidine (5-aza), and while 5-aza benefits some patients, 40% of treated patients have no response.  It is not understand why patients become resistant to 5-aza and so, given the importance of 5-aza in MDS/AML therapy, it is important to understand the mechanisms of 5-aza resistance. The goal of this project is to understand both why patients are resistant to 5-aza, and to provide insights to develop future novel therapies.

The Virtual Blood Cancer Navigator

In response to the need for tailored sources of health information, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is undertaking the development of the Virtual Blood Cancer Navigator (VBCN). The VBCN will be an interactive digital platform using artificial intelligence to provide a customized experience that empowers blood cancer patients and survivors to navigate the complex cancer landscape, armed with the right information at the right time. Personalized information tailored to the individual with cancer can help improve communication and informed decision-making, enable self-care and enhance quality of life while improving the patient’s ability to recognize potential life-threatening complications associated with their diagnosis and treatment.

Drs. Mayo and Howell will identify the essential content, features/functionalities for the VBCN to enable personalized patient navigation to information and support for managing blood cancers.

2019/2020 Operating Grant

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 human body. Interestingly, platelets also shed small vesicles (similar to escape pods) which package biologically active molecules. We have recently identified a new type of these vesicles, termed mitoMPs. These mitoMPs contain mitochondria which are known as the power and energy producing components of every cell. Our preliminary results show that mitoMPs bind and get enveloped by leukemia cells to transfer their content (mitochondria). As a result, these cancer cells have greater viability and have increased resistance to cellular death. We believe that mitoMPs represent important cancer modulators which will result in increased disease progression. In this study, we propose to define the significance of mitoMPs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Most importantly, we will determine the disease mechanisms which will then allow for the development of new strategic therapeutic approaches. 

Funded in partnership with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).