Cancer

Together, we are exploring new ways to treat cancer and improve health

Every day, our researchers, clinicians and investigators explore innovation and push boundaries to elevate excellence in cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support.

One of the ways that we are leading the fight against cancer is precision medicine. Precision medicine means that, instead of one-size-fits-all treatments, we treat individuals and cancers based on their unique characteristics. 

It’s allowing us to look at the unique genetic information found in each of us, and in cancers, to better prevent, diagnose, treat and support those with the disease.

Our collaborative approach across disciplines and faculties is changing cancer outcomes here in our community and around the world, across every stage of the cancer continuum:

  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Treatment
  • Patient and Family Support 

The advancements we make today will save lives tomorrow. 

Research outcomes to benefit society

Together, we can fuel transformational change 

$150 million

The power of cancer prevention

Prevention is our most powerful line of defense, and it’s a line our researchers are strengthening every day.

Discoveries in the laboratory are translating into new modes of detecting the earliest pre-cancer changes to halt cancer before it starts.

From studying factors from lifestyle to genetics, we’re making discoveries that are translating into new modes of detection — to halt cancer before it starts.

Using exercise to stay ahead of cancer

Exercising 300 minutes per week can help prevent some cancers. How do we know? It’s just one of the exciting discoveries resulting from our recent studies.

Researcher Christine Friedenreich studied postmenopausal women who did 300 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise.

The results of her one-year clinical trial shows participants reduced the body fat associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

Let’s run with it. Together, we can find new ways to leave cancer in the dust.
 

Highlighting our detection detectives

We’re making the case to beat cancer faster because we know that speed saves when it comes to detecting cancer. The sooner cancer is detected, the quicker treatment can begin.
 
Some of our brightest minds are exploring the many ways cancer attacks the body, uncovering new tests and screening techniques to detect cancer earlier. Early detection saves lives. 

Bio Engineering

Early Cancer Detection Initiative

A partnership established by the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute between the Schulich School of Engineering, the Cumming School of Medicine and the Faculty of Science is leading the charge to develop strategies and methods for non-invasive early detection of cancer. 

Led by bioengineering professor Kristina Rinker, the Early Cancer Detection Initiative team is collaborating with researchers across campus.

Researchers are currently investigating new ways of detecting those at risk of developing cancer through blood tests for detecting early disease, body fluid analysis and technologies to detect metastatic cancer, among other key projects.

Individual pathways to treatment

Cancer attacks every person uniquely, so we’re developing ways to treat each individual person.

The more we know about how cancer acts, and how it impacts each patient, the more precise and effective treatments can become.

We’re generating breakthroughs. Genome sequencing is leading to personalized therapies. New tests are identifying the faint chemical fingerprints left in the blood by tumours. Researchers are finding ways of killing cancer by giving it a virus. 

Precision medicine prolongs lives and offers hope to patients now, and in the future.  

Treatment

Using a patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Cancer cells are smart. They know how to control certain immune cells and how to hide from the body’s own immune system. An emerging field in cancer research, immunotherapy, is looking to unlock the power of our own immune system to treat cancer. 

UCalgary researchers led by Doug Mahoney have taken some bold steps in discovering a new immunotherapy combination that’s effective at killing cancer cells. His lab is one of three in the world looking at this innovation.

Using a two-pronged approach, researchers combine two therapies, each targeting a different part of the immune system. 

The first is an injection of a man-made virus. That injection triggers the immune system, and is followed by a second injection of a drug being developed as a form of chemotherapy. That drug stops the tumour from reprogramming immune cells.

The results from Mahoney’s research study are consistent with many other recent findings that smart combinations of therapies are even more effective at killing cancer cells.

Living with the effects of cancer treatments

Cancer treatment as an adult is difficult. Receiving treatment as a child can have a physical ripple effect that lasts a lifetime. 

A group of researchers at UCalgary are digging deeper into the lifestyle habits of young cancer survivors to help them live full and productive lives.  

“Once you’re cured from cancer, you’re not done,” says Fiona Schulte, a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) and the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute and assistant professor at the Cumming School of Medicine in the departments of Paediatrics and Oncology. “These survivors live with long-term difficulties and we need to be aware of that and advocate for their health and well-being.” 

Through the collection of data from children and their families about physical activity, weight and their lifestyle and health behaviour, researchers are looking to identify variables affecting body mass index (BMI), with an eye to developing interventions in schools and the community.


Contact information

Barb Giba
Associate Vice-President, Development
Cumming School of Medicine
403.210.8715
bgiba@ucalgary.ca