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Translational Research

Translational Research

The Partnership’s second five-year mandate and the next phase of implementing Canada’s national cancer strategy began in April 2012. The priorities and initiatives for 2012-2017 are outlined in our strategic plan, Sustaining Action Toward a Shared Vision and in the Priorities section of our website. The information below reflects work to the end of March 2012.  

Moving research findings into clinical practice

The Partnership is collaborating with the Terry Fox Research Institute on the Pan-Canadian Cancer Biomarker Initiative to translate research findings into clinical practice. The work’s focus is practical: to identify emerging technologies that can improve early detection and treatment methods through the use of biomarkers, which are biochemical features that indicate the progress of disease or the effects of therapy.

The initiative focuses on many types of cancer, including lung, ovarian and prostate. The most advanced study in the initiative is the Early Lung Cancer Detection Study, which explores how emerging technologies can improve early detection of lung cancer. The study builds on large international trials that are investigating whether spiral computed tomography (CT) scanning offers the most effective means of screening individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer.  

Preliminary results of a recent U.S. trial on the use of spiral CT screening showed that examining patients by CT is effective in reducing lung cancer deaths by 20 per cent over the use of chest x-rays for screening. All-cause mortality was also reduced by 7 per cent in those given a CT scan.

The Canadian study screens high-risk individuals using other methods, including questionnaires, a breathing test, and a blood biomarker test. It seeks to identify who could benefit most from spiral CT screening and to examine how the combination of tests could be used to maximize the impact of lung cancer screening as quickly as possible in Canada.

Results for 2011/12:

  • At the end of March 2012, baseline assessments were completed for 2,537 participants in the Early Lung Cancer Detection Study. Cancer was detected in 97 people, with a number of participants still being followed for lung nodules. Data on direct and indirect costs of diagnosing and treating lung cancer was collected prospectively for health economics analysis.
  • The Partnership continued to support biomarker studies — for myeloma and lung, ovarian and prostate cancer — and assessed the studies’ progress against established milestones. The lung cancer and myeloma studies, which will improve our ability to detect these diseases, are on track and nearing completion. Work also continues on pilot projects created in 2010/11 in translational research related to ovarian and prostate cancer.

For more information on this initiative’s results leading up to 2012 and how the work supports the overall cancer control strategy, please read Key Achievements 2007-2012 and see our annual reports and progress reports