Dream Team

I was privileged to speak on behalf of Alberta Cancer Foundation donors today, at a news conference announcing a significant investment into glioblastoma research. The scientists involved in the project are being dubbed a “dream team,” made up of some of the country’s top minds in cancer research. They are all working together to find new treatments for the most common and deadly form of brain cancer among adults.
This $8.2 million investment from the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Terry Fox Research Institute, the Terry Fox Foundation, Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, Genome Canada, Genome BC and the BC Cancer Foundation is one of the largest ever made in Canada to research glioblastoma. Every year about 2600 Canadians are diagnosed with this disease. With current treatment, survival is about 15 months. We want to change that.

Our donors give because they have a sense of urgency that we at the Alberta Cancer Foundation share. We recently lost one of our most committed and inspirational donors who shared that same vision. Alyson Woloshyn was diagnosed with glioblastoma three years ago, at the age of 32, and from that day, became an activist in Alberta’s cancer-free movement.  Alyson was determined to push the pace of discovery, not just for her, but for generations to come. She believed it was important to put back more than you took out and it was inspiring to see her in action, speaking at events and raising money for brain cancer research in Calgary.

Before she died, she knew that we were close to choosing the recipient of the first Alyson Woloshyn Cancer Research Clinical Fellowship.Her name and legacy will live o, by educating bright minds that know something can be done and want to ease the cancer journey for other Albertans.

Alyson believed, as we do, that we are at a really tipping point with cancer research where scientists are collaborating to find the answers to the most difficult questions. The dream team announced today is one example of that focused, purposeful collaboration. It is timely we are celebrating this announcement a few days after celebrating Alyson’s life. We know that this team will accelerate discovery for generations to come.

Myka Osinchuk
~ Myka Osinchuk
   CEO, Alberta Cancer Foundation

Congratulations are in order for two Alberta Cancer Foundation-funded researchers.

Congratulations are in order for two Alberta Cancer Foundation-funded researchers.  At a black-tie gala hosted by the Alberta Science and Technology Foundation, Dr. Gregory Cairncross was awarded a prize for Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Science for his work in brain cancer research.

In front of 700 guests he received the ASTech award, which celebrates innovation in science and technology. Dr. Cairncross, the Alberta Cancer Foundation chair in brain cancer research, has made advances in the treatment for glioblastoma—doubling the life expectancy and improving the quality of life of patients. Dr. Cairncross also leads a national team of scientists looking for new treatment methods for the disease.

Also honoured, this time in the team effort category, was Dr. Gino Fallone’s team, which has been creating new vistas for radiotherapy for cancer treatment. The team applied CT-based image guidance for radiotherapy, addressing the limitations of that system, by introducing MRI guidance for radiotherapy, managing to couple an MRI with a Linear Accelerator (LINAC) to produce optimal images and an effective radiation device – a world first.

Since its inception in 1989, the ASTech Foundation has provided more than $1.3 million in awards recognizing Alberta’s science and technology community. The theme of this year’s ASTech Awards show was “Everyday Heroes,” celebrating the heroes behind the homegrown discoveries, breakthroughs and advances that are changing our world for the better.