Investing in Pancreatic Cancer Research
Pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare disease, with 181 patients diagnosed in Manitoba in 2013 (Source: CancerCare Manitoba). Patient prognosis is often poor; approximately 80% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses are advanced (Source: National Cancer Institute).
Most patients receiving chemotherapy treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer experience some degree of peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling and pain) during treatment. There is a potential for the peripheral neuropathy to become permanent. When a patient develops neuropathy, the healthcare team may decide it’s not safe to continue treatment, or the patient may decide to stop treatment.
The Vic Foundation is partnering with the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation (MMSF) to invest $28,000 in new research to explore the link between advanced pancreatic cancer treatment and peripheral neuropathy.
Dr. Christina Kim, a highly-skilled medical oncologist at The Vic’s Buhler Cancer Centre and CancerCare Manitoba, is embarking on a new study to assess changes in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer during treatment. The study will be coordinated by the Victoria Institute of Clinical Research & Evaluation.
“There are currently two first-line chemotherapy treatment options for advanced pancreatic cancer,” says Dr. Kim. “New research may ultimately help us to determine the ideal therapy, ideal dosage and help in preventing toxicity in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Once complete, the results from this study will give us the important information that will help us in collaborating with other centers across Canada for a larger cohort study.”
The Vic Foundation and MMSF have been collaborating to advance healthcare research since 2013, co-funding two research grants totaling $50,000.
Celebrating a year of giving at Annual General Meeting
Our board members, staff and various members of our Vic family gathered on July 27th for our Annual General Meeting. B.J. Langdon, Chair of The Vic Foundation's Board of Directors, recognized our dedicated volunteer board members for their many contributions over the past year.
Following the meeting, guests had the opportunity to gather in our award-winning Miracle Garden to celebrate all that has been achieved in the past year and look forward to the year ahead.
Special thanks to Tony Roma's for providing the delicious food at our reception!
$900,000+ For Her Heart’s Sake advances women’s heart disease care and prevention
Women are a vital part of our community – and heart disease is her #1 killer. Thanks to the generous support of almost 600 individuals, businesses and organizations we have made great strides in our fight against women’s heart disease:
- Our First STEP Cardiac Care Program for Women opened on February 6 to help women at high risk and heart attack survivors make the lifestyle changes they need to prevent an attack and live heart healthy.
- Primary prevention is being provided to women in the Happy Hearts study through collaboration with Dr. Todd Duhamel, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at St. Boniface Hospital.
- Women’s heart disease survival guides were distributed at several community awareness events held throughout Winnipeg.
- Canadian-wide networks were formed to share new research and best practices for the diagnoses, treatment and prevention of women’s heart disease through the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit.
New COPD Diagnosis Method Improves Patient Care
Researchers from the Victoria Institute of Clinical Research & Evaluation have worked in partnership with Dr. Francis Lin’s Immunotrafficking Lab at the University of Manitoba and Seven Oaks Hospital to develop a safer and more efficient method to diagnose Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
“The new method uses a microchip smaller than those found on a credit card that contains many specially designed channels to test the interaction between a patient’s white blood cells and mucus from the lower airways (sputum). COPD sputum contains factors that can attract white blood cells, and the level of the cell motion can be used as a measure of COPD,” says Dr. Lin.
“While the connection between cell migration and COPD has been known for many years, we have now developed a cell migration test that is simple and fast enough for clinical diagnosis,” says Dr. Jiandog Wu, a MITACS Postdoc Fellow in Dr. Lin’s lab.
“This innovative test can be performed by a nurse in under 25 minutes and requires only a small drop of blood and the sputum sample," says Dr. Susy Santos, Director of the Victoria Institute of Clinical Research & Evaluation.
The standard method for COPD diagnosis is known as spirometry, which tests how well the patient can breathe. According to Dr. Lin, the main limitation of spirometry is that it requires patient cooperation, which can be difficult for patients with severe conditions or who are unable to follow the procedures. Research shows that for patients diagnosed with COPD using the spirometry test, diagnoses were only correct half the time.
“The cell migration test is a more refined option since it assesses the disease at the cell function level,” says Dr. Wu. “This test can provide useful information to complement the traditional methods for more accurate disease diagnosis and to help predict the risk of disease progression. This method is inexpensive and simple to perform, allowing for better and safer care for patients and increased staff efficiency.”
Dr. Santos says the team has a strong vision for the future success of this new method.
“In the future, a test kit could be prescribed to the patient for a COPD self-test that can be done at home,” says Dr. Santos. “We believe that this method will be successful in the diagnosis and monitoring of COPD as well as other diseases in the years to come.”
COPD is a progressive disease that makes it difficult for sufferers to breathe. It is one of the most common lung diseases, with a patient’s condition worsening over time as the disease progresses.