Cancer researchers recognized

Three Queen’s professors receive grants from Cancer Care Ontario

One in three Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. As the world races for a cure, Queen’s professors are leading the way with three major grants.

Each year Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), a government advisory body that directs over $700 million in public health care dollars, selects around six researchers as chairs.

This year, three out of the six positions were filled by Queen’s professors; Gabor Fichtinger, Penelope Bradbury and Michael Brundage.

“The chair is a funding champion,” Fichtinger, a professor at the Queen’s School of Computing and Kingston General Hospital, said, adding that $1 million in chair funding will allow him to help bring image-guided surgery and cancer intervention technology go to trial without the usual five-year wait period.

“Being named a Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair will allow the research to go to clinical trials in a faster and more efficient manner,” Fichtinger said. “With this money, the research process is accelerated and the wheels are put into motion for finding new cures.”

Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs are divided into level one or two. Level one chairs are considered senior and level two chairs junior. Level one research chairs receive $1 million over five years, twice as much as level two and have different mandates meaning they are expected to have their normal teaching loads reduced and devote more time to research.

Since it is an open competition, many of the most talented and hardworking doctors were eligible to be named Cancer Care Ontario Research Chairs, Fichtinger said.

The Queen’s professors received chair grants for their research in fields ranging from oncology to computing.

“Queen’s can be very proud … but never underestimate the power of luck.” Dr. Fichtinger, Dr. Bradbury and Dr. Brundage received a total of $2.5 million. The CCO program receives funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Brundage, a professor in Oncology, said that being appointed a level one CCO research chair and receiving the research funding will give him more time to devote to research endeavors.

“This money does not increase my salary but reduces my clinical time and allows me more research time,” he said, adding that he is currently researching care quality in partnership with the Provincial Program in Radiation Oncology.

“My research … concerns how quality of life is evaluated in clinical trials of cancer treatments,” he said, adding that he is also funded by CIHR to evaluate quality measures and patterns of care for prostate cancer radiotherapy across Canada.

“I was pleasantly surprised to be named a chair, as these are competitive and there are many deserving researchers in the province.”

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