March 7, 2018 3:35 pm

Saskatoon scientist receives 3 CIHR grants for cancer research

A research scientist at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency has recently been acknowledged with triple grant fundings by the CIHR.

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Dr. Franco Vizeacoumar, a scientist at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, received three grants for his cancer research work.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grants total over $1.7 million.

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Vizeacoumar’s lab focuses primarily on identifying targetable vulnerabilities of cancer cells by exploiting tumour genetics.

“With this funding, we are able to continue our work in several areas that has the opportunity to translate into new and directed therapies and better outcomes for patients,” he said in a press release.

The first CIHR grant, for $592,875 over five years, is funding research aimed at new targeted therapies for colorectal cancers.

Vizeacoumar will also be principal investigator for a five-year grant of $573,750 to research circular ribonucleic acid (RNA) and potentially develop the ‘next’ generation of therapeutic strategies to treat cancer patients.

The third grant of $558,452 over four years was awarded to fight breast cancer. In collaboration with investigators at the University of Saskatchewan, Vizeacoumar aims to develop personalized combination therapy.

“I’m grateful to the support I have from my colleagues in the cancer agency and the partnership with researchers at the University of Saskatchewan,” Vizeacoumar said.

“Receiving the grants is not just my success, it’s that of a much broader and talented team that are essential to the achievements of my lab.”

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The agency said Vizeacoumar’s cutting-edge research has placed Saskatchewan in the second position with a provincial success rate in receiving grants of 17.78 per cent, only behind British Columbia at 19.61 per cent.

“It is rare for one researcher to receive multiple grants in one competition,” Jon Tonita, president and CEO of Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, said in a press release.

“We are in a new era of cancer research and I am pleased that our researchers are at the forefront of the work taking place.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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