Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Changing Face of Lung Cancer

Dr. David Palma closes out the year with a review on the progress made in lung cancer therapy. Research has lead to improvements in lung cancer surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Research holds the promise and the way forward to reduce the burden of lung cancer.

The Changing Face of Lung Cancer. Published in the Londoner (December 19th, Page 8).

Dr. David Palma is a Radiation Oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Program, and an Assistant Professor at Western University.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Complexity of Finding A Cure for Breast Cancer

Cancer cells are very similar to healthy cells in the body. Finding effective treatments to destroy cancerous cells, while safeguarding the well being of the healthy ones, is one of the challenges scientists face in their work to find a cure for breast cancer. Within this challenge is the reality that breast cancer is not just one form of cancer, there are at least 10 different genes in our DNA that can mutate and trigger breast cancer. Read more in our monthly Londoner column, written this month by RIOT members Amelia Nuhn and Stephanie Dorman.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

International Day of Medical Physics

November 7, 2013 is the inaugrual International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP).

Why November 7th? Marie Sklodowska-Curie, a Nobel laureate known for her pioneering research on radioactivity, was born in Poland on November 7, 1867.

Medical Physics is the application of physics to medicine and health. Most medical physicists practice in the areas of radiation oncology (the treatment of cancer with ionizing radiation) and medical imaging. This year, the theme of IDMP 2013 is Radiation Exposure from Medical Procedures: Ask the Medical Physicist!

London has a strong medical physics footprint, with several RIOT team members performing research in the field. Sixty-two year ago in 1951, the world's first cancer treatment with Cobalt-60 radiation was performed at Victoria Hospital.

Take a quiz to test your medical physics knowledge:

For more information:

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

London Researcher Dr. Shawn Li Receives CCS Innovation Grant to Study Ways to Overcome Chemotherapy Resistance in Breast Cancer

Dr. Shawn Li has received a CCS Innovation Grant to study ways to overcome chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer. The focus of Dr. Li's work is the "triple negative" cancer cell that test negative for three things: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2 overexpression. Dr Li, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Western University, is studying a biochemical reaction that plays a critical role in the death of triple-negative breast cancer cells and is also involved in chemotherapy resistance. His new project will study how two proteins –Numb and Set8—interact in this reaction and look for compounds that could serve as the first targeted treatments for triple-negative breast cancers.Read more.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Taking it easy - the opposite for breast cancer survivors

This month in our Londoner article Dr. Tracy Sexton, radiation oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Program, and Stefanie De Jesus, PhD Candidate at Western University discuss some of the research being done around the impact of exercise on the recovery of breast cancer patients. Our thanks to the Londoner for their continuing support in publishing our monthly column on the progress and promise in Cancer Research, and to the researchers and research trainees for taking the time to write the articles on the great work that is going on today in London.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Heeding early warnings for Prostate Cancer

This month, Dr. Hon Leong and Dr. Joseph Chin describe the utility of the PSA test for detecting prostate cancer. Additionally, they outline a new complimentary blood test developed in London that looks at "prostate cancer microparticles".

Heeding early warnings for Prostate Cancer. Published in the Londoner (September 19th, Page 10).

Dr. Hon Leong is a Post Doctoral Fellow, Cancer Research Laboratory Program, Lawson Health Research Institute.

Dr. Joseph Chin is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Urologic Surgery, Western University.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The challenge: outsmarting the ovarian cancer chameleon

This month, Dr. Trevor Shepherd explores the evolving behaviour of ovarian cancer and the potential of oncolytic virus therapy.

The challenge: outsmarting the ovarian cancer chameleon. Published in the Londoner (August 15th, Page 7).

Dr. Trevor Shepherd is a Translational Oncology Scientist of the London Regional Cancer Program and Assistant Professor of the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Oncology, and Anatomy & Cell Biology of Western University.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

MRI Provides New Insights into Breast Cancer-mediated Metastastes

Dr. Paula Foster, Associate Professor, in the Department of Medical Biophysics at Western University and Scientist at the Robarts Research Institute, and her group are developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tools to better diagnose and help in the treatment of both permeable and non-permeable brain metastastes.
Read more in the The Londoner

RIOT member Donna Murrell, is using a mouse model of breast cancer metastastis to the brain and advanced MRI tools developed in the Foster Lab to detect and monitor the leakiness of brain tumours over time in the whole brain.

Donna is pleased to speak about the great research taking place in her lab. For more information contact RIOT at

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Complexity of Cancer Requires a Complex Attack Strategy

Dr. Dale Laird and Dr. Silvia Penuela have written an excellent overview of the challenges faced in the fight against cancer and the progress and promise that characterize the state of cancer research and treatment today.

Read more in the Londoner

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Relay For Life London

A group of cancer researchers from London and members of the RIOT team attended the 10th London Ontario Relay For Life. Relay For Life is a powerful fundraising event that allows people to celebrate the survivors of cancer, remember those lost to cancer, and fight back against cancer. One goal of RIOT is to encourage personal interactions between the attendees at Relay For Life and local cancer researchers.

RIOT members Saman and Michael were captured on Twitter by @LondonRelayON soliciting cancer research questions. Saman and Michael were pleased to answer a number of very good and thoughtful questions on cancer research, and privileged by the survivors and caregivers who shared their personal stories.

The RIOT team congratulates and thanks the organizers, volunteers and participants for making this year's relay great. We can't wait till next year.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Using Math to Kill Cancer Cells

Interesting article posted by the Science Blog this week. A research project funded in part by a Canadian Cancer Society Innovation Grant explores the application of mathematical models on predicting how modifying the genome of a virus might counter the anti-viral defenses of cancer cells. 

Dr. Bell and co-author Dr. Mads Kaern, an assistant professor in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair at the University’s Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, led a team that has used mathematical modelling to devise strategies for making cancer cells exquisitely sensitive to virus infection — killing them without affecting normal, healthy cells.
Read more at Read more at 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Celebrating at Partners in Research National Awards

June 2, 2013 marked the first annual Partners in Research (PIR) National Awards. We are fortunate they were held right here in London, Ontario and we were able to join in the showcase of incredible scientists dedicated to excellence in both their own work and the PIR mission of "enhancing public understanding of importance of health research in conquering disease and improving the quality of life." The PIR mission has grown to include understanding the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. PIR has developed innovative and accessible resources like Virtual Researchers On Call  to help teachers bring these subjects to life in the classroom.
Master of Ceremony John Davidson and Master of Ceremony Remi Quirion presented 6 awards including Biomedical Science Amabassador Award to Chris Brandl of Western University Department of Biochemistry,Schulich School of Medicine &Dentistry. We learned about the Outreach Science Ontario program that allows secondary school biology students to perform molecular cloning experiments in their class rooms. An interesting and innovative development of the OSO program is the development of an iPhone App called Biochemistry Personal Trainer, which was developed by Dr. Brandl in conjunction with Dr. Derek McLachlin. It boasts 6,000 downloads at an average rate of 25 a day. It has been downloaded in over 50 countries around the world.
We had the opportunity to meet more of the PIR staff including Executive Director Kevin Cougler who was quick to see the natural alignment of some of the PIR and RIOT goals, and the potential for a mutually enriching  collaboration. We look forward to further exploring ways in which we can work together to get the word out about the important and exciting work that is being done in the world of science today.
We enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of the founding members of PIR and introduce the work of the Research Information Outreach Team. Thank you Partners in Research for a great evening. Congratulations on celebrating your 25th anniversary!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Western University Physics Lab Tour

On May 15th, following the RIOT Bench to Bedside Presentation, the Saunders Cancer Club was treated to a tour of the first year physics laboratories at Western University by Dr. Kanthi Kaluarachchi.
Dr. Jerry Battista and Linada Kaci demonstrated the DeskCAT. The DeskCAT is a desktop optical CT scanner, used to demonstrate and teach the physical and mathematical principles underpinning the x-ray CT scanners found in hospitals. Computed Tomography (CT) is an important imaging tool physicians use in the care of people with cancer and other diseases. You can learn more about the made in London DeskCAT in this Western News article, this YouTube video and the manufacturer’s website.
We thank Drs. Kaluarachchi and Battista, and Ms Kaci for providing a very engaging and interesting lab tour. Photo credit: Henry Leparskas.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

From collaboration to tumor suppression

Charles Ishak has written an article titled: From collaboration to tumor suppression. Available on page 17 of the May 16th Londoner.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Bench to Bedside Presentation at Western University

On May 15th RIOT will be presenting the Bench to Beside panel to the Saunders Secondary School Cancer Club. Our thanks to Dr. Eugene Wong for hosting us in the Physics Building, and for taking the students on a tour of the department's facilities following the presentation.

The Saunders Cancer Club has raised over $500,000.00 for the Canadian Cancer Society since 2004. Beyond this amazing accomplishment the Club dedicates considerable energy to raising awareness about cancer prevention including an annual smoking cessation challenge. 

We will be introducing the students to the Bench to Beside video series and look forward to keeping in touch and providing support wherever information on the progress and promise in cancer research is helpful to them.

Looking forward to a great day with an amazing group of youth.

P.S. follow us on Twitter @CancerRIOT

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Bench to Bedside Panel Presentation Assumption College Brantford

On Monday April 29th RIOT team members Courtney Coschi, Michael Jensen and Timothy Yeung travelled to Brantford to deliver the Bench to Bedside panel for Assumption College high school science club and Relay for Life organizing committee members. Assumption College has over 120 members in the science club. Very impressive! Approximately 50 students came to the lunch time session. The audience was very attentive to the presentation and interacted with the panelists through broad ranging questions after the presentation. We very much appreciated the invitation from Science Department Head Dave Page who also oversees the Assumption College Relay for Life coming up in May. Best wishes for success to all of the students as they move forward in their preparations for a career in science and join in the fight against cancer.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

New funding promotes idea for novel cancer diagnostic tool

Dr. David Litchfield has written an article titled: New funding promotes idea for novel cancer diagnostic tool. Available on page 20 of the April 18th Londoner.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

OHM Fashion Show 2013

RIOT Team member Courtney Coschi gave a brief presentation about her research at the OHM Fashion Show on March 15th. Proceeds from the student-run OHM Fashion Show are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. The atmosphere was incredible, as were the fashions and dancers. So much work went on behind the scenes to organize this amazing fundraiser to support the Canadian Cancer Society. Thank you to an incredible team and to everyone who bought tickets and sponsored the event. We are truly grateful!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Enhanced care for treating Lung Cancer patients

Dr. Brian Yaremko has written an article titled: Enhanced care for treating Lung Cancer in patients. Currently available on page 10 of the March 14th Londoner.

Part of the monthly series "Promise and Progress in Research" co-ordinated by the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) - London and published in the Londoner.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bench to Bedside Video Series Launched

On February 4th, World Cancer Day, the Research Information Outreach Team launched their "Bench to Bedside video series. The set of 6 videos is designed to educate the general public on the scientific process from basic science (bench side) to clinical trials (bedside).