Franco Vizeacoumar is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan where he works on developing novel targeted therapies to improve survival of cancer patients.
"Cancer is a very complex disease that affects everyone in some way. Basic research is essential to defeat this terrible illness. Unlike other diseases, cancer is caused by combinations of multiple genetic mutations, hence why the challenge is huge. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are currently seen as the best treatments to date, but radiation and chemicals cause damage to normal tissue. There have been few successes with targeted therapies with highly specific inhibitors, and identifying such targets becomes extremely important for developing novel therapeutic strategies.
Our lab focuses on developing such targeted therapies by applying a basic biological concept called synthetic lethality. These research strategies are of high therapeutic relevance because the treatments of the future will most likely be targeted and customized to the genome of the patient and the type of cancer.
Funding from the Cancer Research Society greatly helps us move forward towards this level of personalized medicine."
The Cancer Research Society funds highly promising research projects undertaken by Canada’s best scientists. Following a rigorous peer review selection process, about 150 researchers are thus able to advance scientific knowledge to improve cancer prevention, detection and treatments, through various funding programs. These programs are based on scientific excellence, support to new generations of scientists, support to promising underfunded research avenues and partnerships with great impact potential. Since its inception, the Cancer Research Society has thus contributed to major advances in oncology, helping position Canada at the forefront of cancer research in the world.