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Cancer

Fighting cancer together

Dalhousie Medical School's the hub of a world-class cancer research community in Atlantic Canada. More than 50 principal investigators lead a vigourous team effort, involving approximately 250 postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and research assistants, coordinators and technicians. They're working together and with partners across the region to understand cancer and find ways to better detect, diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.

Dalhousie cancer discoveries

Dalhousie Medical School and Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation—along with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Capital Health, the IWK Health Centre and others—are key founding partners of the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, launched in April 2009. The Institute involves researchers and stakeholders across Atlantic Canada in fostering a strong and coordinated cancer research effort in the region.

Who was Beatrice Hunter?

Beatrice Hunter was a Nova Scotian who bequeathed $12.5 million to Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation in 1999. Mrs. Hunter asked that the money be used to support cancer research at Dalhousie Medical School in memory of her parents, Dr. Owen and Mrs. Pearle Cameron. Her gift launched the Dalhousie Cancer Research Program, the Cameron Chair in Cancer Research, the Cameron Scientist Award and continues to provide $500,000 a year to Dalhousie cancer research.

Exploring every facet of cancer control

How cancer starts and spreads

Dalhousie scientists are learning how damage to DNA triggers the cancer process and how some molecules in the body promote this process, while others slow it down. They're looking for ways to block cancer promoters and rev up the cancer suppressors. Others are learning how cancers metastasize, so they can find ways to stop this deadly disease progression.

How to detect and diagnose cancer

Early detection and precise diagnosis are vital to saving lives. Some Dalhousie researchers are searching for biomarkers that could detect and diagnose cancers with a simple blood test. Others are trying to identify the best way to detect lung cancer at an early, more curable stage, while still others are evaluating the effectiveness of screening programs.

How to treat cancer

Dalhousie medical researchers are pioneering ways to fight cancers. For example, they're harnessing the cancer-killing power of measles and reovirus, and finding cancer-fighting peptides and other molecules in common foods and spices. Others are looking for ways to re-sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy so that recurrent cancers can be cured. And, they’re advancing personalized medicine and more effective approaches to patient care.

How to prevent cancer

Prevention is the ultimate cancer cure. Dalhousie researchers are exploring Atlantic Canadians’ hereditary, environmental and lifestyle risk factors through long-term studies that will inform future prevention efforts.