April 29, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is making a historic investment in cancer research, investing $5 million over five years in Moncton's Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI).
The province's investment, announced in Fredericton today by Health Minister Michael Murphy, has the potential to improve the health of cancer patients significantly through innovative developments in early detection and screening tools. The contribution is also expected to make ACRI more competitive when it competes for research funding.
"Building research capacity is a critical component of New Brunswick's cancer strategy, and this investment will go a long way toward addressing that goal," said Murphy. "It will allow the ACRI to not only develop strategic partnerships with other important collaborators, but also to leverage other national research dollars from various research-funding organizations."
Dr. Rodney Ouellette, chief executive officer and director of discovery at ACRI, said investments such as New Brunswick's are vitally important.
The province's investment, he said, will enable ACRI to accelerate cancer research in this region. This is especially important, given that the Atlantic provinces have some of the lowest cancer survival rates in the country.
"This type of investment is crucial in addressing this important challenge," Ouellette said.
Ouellette noted that the province's investment will strengthen ACRI's position to compete for national funding.
"The reality is that national research-funding organizations are always looking for collaborators that can co-fund projects," he said. "The province's investment will allow us to bring matching funding dollars to the table."
One such partner is the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), headquartered in Vancouver and represented at the announcement by Dr. Victor Ling, president and scientific director of TFRI. He said TFRI is seeking partners who support translational cancer research.
"The goal of translational research is to fast-track discoveries made in the laboratory into practical applications that will improve outcomes for cancer patients," said Ling. "The Terry Fox Foundation has committed a minimum of $50 million over five years to TFRI from donations, obtained primarily during the 25th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope in 2005."
To date, three provinces - British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario - and the federal government have provided funding and have encouraged provincial cancer care and research organizations to form partnerships with TFRI.
"We are thrilled with the interest, the financial and scientific leadership in this region, and we look forward to exploring partnership possibilities," said Ling.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522; Françoise Roy, director of communications and development, Atlantic Canada Research Institute, 506-866-1686; Kelly Curwin, chief communications officer, Terry Fox Research Institute, www.tfri.ca, 604-675-8000 ext. 7606.