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Stopping cancer in its tracks

Published Mon Jan 26th 2015

The grant from the Canadian Cancer Society will provide opportunities for collaborations between researchers.

Researcher Andrew Craig understands the importance of stopping metastasis, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. And with an innovation grant of $193,798 from the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Dr. Craig and his team hope to get one step closer.

“Metastasis – or the spread of cancer from its primary tumour site to another location in the body – is a critical stage to prevent. This grant from the CCS will allow us to conduct research on metastasis and develop new tools to prevent it,” says Dr. Craig. “Many current therapies are focused on trying to shrink tumours and have a limited ability to prevent the spread of tumours.

Dr. Craig and several talented trainees are developing and testing inhibitory antibodies targeting key signals that cancer cells require for metastasis.  These novel antibodies are being developed with collaborators in Toronto, and Dr. Craig’s team is actively profiling them to identify the most effective ones against highly metastatic breast and skin cancers. 

Antibodies are proteins found in the blood that are produced to respond to and counteract foreign substances in the body, but have been increasingly used to specifically target cancer.

“This grant will allow us to identify lead antibodies and test their potency in pre-clinical models of metastatic cancer,” says Dr. Craig. “We will strive to secure the additional funding and partners that will be needed to translate these tools into new immunotherapies for clinical trials in human cancer patients.”

This grant, made possible by donations to the CCS, has attracted new post-doctoral fellows and graduate students to Dr. Craig’s research team.

“Being able to develop and maintain a strong research-intensive atmosphere is another extremely important part of receiving this grant support,” says Dr. Craig. “The opportunities for collaboration as a result of bringing in new researchers is invaluable to tackling this challenging disease.”

This funding was provided by the Canadian Cancer Society Innovation Grants program.