HALIFAX – As “Mo bros” across the region get set to grow their Movember moustaches next month, researchers at Dalhousie University are already putting previous years’ “Mo dollars” to good use.
Since 2007, the Movember campaign in Canada has encouraged men to grow moustaches during the month of November, while collecting donations through Movember.com.
The money raised goes towards men’s health programs, including prostate cancer research across Canada.
Graham Dellaire, Director of Research in the Department of Pathology at Dalhousie University, is one of 22 co-investigators working on a $5 million grant from Movember.
“Our research here, which is quite unique in Canada, is that we look at how cells respond to chemotherapy using live cell microscopy,” Dellaire explained.
The lab is also using zebra fish to test the effectiveness of different types of drugs. Prostate cancer tumours are transplanted into the small tropical fish, which are then treated with a wide range of drugs. The goal is to one day personalize therapy for cancer patients.
There is also a very personal inspiration for Dellaire’s work. His grandfather died from an aggressive form of prostate cancer and Dellaire says he is now using his work to honour his grandfather’s memory.
“My hope is that the research we do now is actually going to make sure that my three sons at home have a fighting chance if they are diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he said.
The lab includes ten researchers, many who take part in Movember events each year.
PhD candidate Dale Corkery, who normally sports a full beard the rest of the year, says he values the campaign for both its ability to raise funds and get people talking.
“I think Movember, more than anything, raises awareness for prostate cancer and that’s really important amongst the younger generations,” said Corkery.
Movember Canada’s director, Pete Bombaci, says the fundraiser has grown in popularity over the years, thanks in part to its light-hearted nature.
“You connect some fun to it and also the camaraderie,” he said. “That fun that people have out of it is truly a powerful message and really gets people inspired to be a part of the campaign.”