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Congratulations to Shane Sinclair from the University of Calgary on the receipt of a C17 Research Network grant targeted at conceptualizing and operationalizing compassion

Grant title: Conceptualizing and Operationalizing Compassion in Pediatric Oncology: The Development of a Patient, Family Member and Healthcare Provider Informed Theoretical Model

Lay abstract:  Compassion is a key component of high quality healthcare. While children and family members increasingly expect compassion and healthcare providers desire to provide it, providing and receiving compassion in the pediatric oncology settings is a growing challenge. Although Canadian Pediatric Society guidelines state that “It is essential that every team member…provide compassionate care that meets or exceeds parents’ expectations,” and the Hospice Palliative Care Association attests that “Pediatric hospice palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of competent and compassionate formal caregivers who work collaboratively with the child and family,” no studies have defined and operationalized compassion within a pediatric setting.

This study will develop a clinically informed, patient and family centered, theoretical model of compassion from the perspective of children living within advanced cancer, their parents and healthcare providers. The aim of this study is to conceptualize and operationalize compassion from the perspective of individuals who are exposed and are challenged to address suffering on a frequent basis. This study will generate a model illustrating the key care domains of compassionate care that healthcare providers need to be cognizant of in order to optimally deliver compassion. While compassion is particularly salient to this population we believe the findings will be of relevance across oncology, BMT and hematology populations.



Congratulations to Jason Berman from IWK on the receipt of a C17 Research Network grant targeting neuroblastoma

Grant title: The Microenvironment as a Therapeutic Target in High Risk Neuroblastoma

Lay abstract: Neuroblastoma is one of the most deadly cancers in children. While advances in treatment have made some improvements to survival, more than half of children will still die of disease. When neuroblastoma cells from the initial tumour move to another spot in the body and form another tumour, this is called metastasis and is particularly deadly. Thus, being able to stop cancer cells from spreading to organs like the bone, bone marrow and brain is critical to impacting survival of these vulnerable children. The spread of cancer cells is not only dependent on the cancer cell itself, but also on factors in the surrounding environment, known as the tumour microenvironment. Determining how these factors contribute to the spread of neuroblastoma and either increasing or decreasing these levels could improve current neuroblastoma treatment. We have developed approaches to transplant human cancer cells into zebrafish embryos, which are see-through and have similar cells and organs as humans, providing an environment not dissimilar from what occurs when these cancer cells arise in children. We have further “humanized” these zebrafish by altering them to express certain human factors produced by cells found around cancer cells that may contribute to their movement. We will put human neuroblastoma cells into zebrafish and determine which factors outside and inside the cells affect where these cells travel. Information from these studies will provide guidance as to what factors to block or increase to prevent neuroblastoma spread and improve outcome.


Congratulations to Ted Gerstle from the Sick Kids Research Institute on the receipt of a 100% Fund grant targeting rhabdomyosarcoma

Grant title: MRI-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound-controlled hyperthermia to activate thermosensitive liposomal doxorubicin to treat rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in a mouse model

Lay abstract: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common muscle tumor of childhood, can be difficult to treat because of the side-effects of radiation and surgery in certain locations as well as the long term toxicity of chemotherapy agents. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be used to guide high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) beams to warm the tissue at the tumor up to a temperature of 42C. We will combine this mild hyperthermia with administration of an encapsulated chemotherapy drug (doxorubicin) specifically designed to release the drug in tissue which has been heated to 42C. We will create rhabdomyosarcoma tumors in mice and treat them using the combined MR guided HIFU and thermosensitivie doxorubicin formulation. We hypothesize that this combined approach could reduce tumor growth and minimize the toxicity of the drug by focusing its release at the tumor and minimizing systemic drug levels. This preclinical project would form the basis for the translation of the use of MRgHIFU and thermosensitive doxorubicin treatment into the pediatric oncology clinic, offering a treatment that could prolong life for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma and significantly reduce morbidity. This approach would be safer than current therapy and would be an exciting translation of MRgHIFU and liposomal doxorubicin from adult to pediatric therapy expanding treatment options for this challenging disease.

Funding partners: Fight Like Mason Foundation, Team Naomi, Team Finn and Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer. 100% Fund grants are adjudicated and administered by the C17 Research Network.

Nearly one in five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. For children with rare and hard to treat cancers, the odds can be far worse. The 100% Fund has been created to challenge these odds. Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer is partnering with Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation, Fight Like Mason Foundation, Team Naomi, and Team Finn to help fund research for children and teens who do not, yet, have their cure.  The purpose of The 100% Fund is to target directly pediatric cancers that are rare and hard to treat—cancers that have not responded to available therapies. Projects can range from discovery to clinical trials, but must be targeted at delivering a treatment intervention. The goal is to fund research with the potential to deliver improved treatment and increased survival rates.

Congratulations to Sumit Gupta from The Hospital for Sick Children on the receipt of a 100% Fund Grant targeting infant ALL

Grant title: The characterization of previously undetected MLL gene abnormalities in infant ALL

Lay Abstract: Infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a rare, but devastating disease in babies less than 1 year old. For babies with high risk features, including an abnormality in the MLL gene (MLL-r), only one in five survive. Normally MLL-r is detected in a laboratory using FISH technology, the current standard. We encountered two babies who were found not to have MLL-r by FISH, but abnormalities were discovered using next generation sequencing (NGS), a newer technology. Identification of MLL-r is extremely important because studies show babies with high risk infant ALL have better outcomes using more intense therapy; failing to identify MLL-r may result in under-treatment. Also, new drugs have recently been developed targeting the MLL gene. If MLL-r is not detected, patients are not eligible for these potentially beneficial medications. We suspect that there are other infants with MLL-r that have not been detected by FISH. Using samples from patients with infant ALL and normal MLL genes by FISH, we will determine how often this happens by using NGS. If we find a significant number of hidden MLL-r, doctors will potentially have to change the way they detect such abnormalities so that patients receive appropriate therapy and optimal outcomes.

Funding partners:  Phoebe Rose Rocks and Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer. 100% Fund grants are adjudicated and administered by the C17 Research Network.

Nearly one in five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. For children with rare and hard to treat cancers, the odds can be far worse. The 100% Fund has been created to challenge these odds. Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer is partnering with Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation, Fight Like Mason Foundation, Team Naomi, and Team Finn to help fund research for children and teens who do not, yet, have their cure.  The purpose of The 100% Fund is to target directly pediatric cancers that are rare and hard to treat—cancers that have not responded to available therapies. Projects can range from discovery to clinical trials, but must be targeted at delivering a treatment intervention. The goal is to fund research with the potential to deliver improved treatment and increased survival rates.

The INUIT CANCER EXPERIENCE depicted in “Jon’s Tricky Journey” (storybook+ educational resource) by Pat McCarthy, and funded by C17 with CCCF. All sites to receive copies. See full posting for book website with previews of this stunning book.

From the author, Pat McCarthy:


Hello everyone! This is my first e-mail blast to family, friends and colleagues. I wanted to let you know that my book has been published by Inhabit Media and is available on (US),  and on Indigo books (Canada). The amazon and indigo websites say release date of Sept 1 2017, however the books should be arriving in the Inhabit Media warehouse this week, and will be available sooner. The book is bilingual; English and Inuktitut.

My website is:

Inhabit Media website:

This book was supported with a grant from C17,  in partnership with Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation, and with support from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Jon loves his life in the North. But when he feels a pain that won’t go away, he must go to a children’s hospital in the south to find out what is wrong. A doctor there tells Jon he has cancer and will have to stay at the hospital for a while.

Suddenly Jon’s life is upside down! But with a handful of tricks from the doctors and nurses, and new friends, Jon discovers ways to cope with some of the tricky parts of having cancer.

Accompanied by a resource guide for parents and caregivers, including hospital and support information, Jon’s Tricky Journey opens a conversation between Inuit children facing a cancer diagnosis and their families to help make a difficult and confusing time more manageable.

Written by Patricia McCarthy | Illustrated by Hwei Lim

ISBN: 978-1-77227-145-4 | $19.95 | 8.5″ x 8.5″ | 70 pages | Full-colour illustrations | Paperback | Bilingual Inuktitut and English

Ages 5–7

Congratulate Henrique Bittencourt and Jason Berman on their recently awarded C17 Research Network grants, funded in partnership with CCCF and ECFC

Henrique Bittencourt from CHU Ste Justine was awarded  $120,000 for his grant entitled “Third-party Human Umbilical Cord Perivascular (HUCPVC)-derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) to Treat Refractory or Steroid-dependent Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Children, TUMS Phase I-II trial”.

Jason Berman from IWK was awarded $99,930 for his grant entitled “Stromal Antigen 2 (STAG2): A novel metastatic pathway in Ewing sarcoma”

Congratulate Mark Gauthier, Trang Hoang, Bernard Jasmin and Jane McGlade–recipients of pediatric oncology operating grants funded in partnership with the Cancer Research Society

We are excited to announce the recipients of the 4 pediatric oncology grants funded in partnership with the Cancer Research Society (listed below).  These grants are each funded at $120,000 over 2 years, with C17 and CRS contributing equal funds, and are administered through the CRS.

  • Mark A Gauthier, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS)–Second generation molecular sieving coatings using asparaginase for improved treatment of leukemia
  • Trang Hoang, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer/Université de Montréal–Effect of UM011997 on human T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Bernard Jasmin, University of Ottawa–Misregulation of the RNA-binding protein Staufen1 in Rhabdomyosarcoma: Impact for pathogenesis and as a novel therapeutic target
  • Jane McGlade, The Hospital for Sick Children–SLAP adaptor regulation of Cbl and tyrosine kinase signaling in leukemia

Additional information about the 2015 CRS Operating Grant Competition can be found at:

Congratulations to C17 Grant Recipients: William Foulkes, Faisal Khan and Tal Schechter

The C17 Research Network is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014/15 grant competition.

PI: Dr. William Foulkes (McGill)
Title: Towards a pan-Canadian DICER1 clinical and research network

Inherited mutations in the gene DICER1 have been discovered to cause rare types of tumours that occur primarily very early in an infant’s life, but little is known about how these mutations cause tumours. The purpose of the proposed study is to establish a network of physicians, pathologists and researchers with knowledge of DICER1-related cancers from across Canada to enable them to share valuable resources such as patient samples and treatment information. The benefits of this network will be twofold: first, it will allow the identification of most Canadian families with family members that may suffer from a DICER1-related cancer. This will provide these families with access to genetic testing and counselling, and increased surveillance for as yet unaffected infants. Second, collecting samples and information from DICER1 patients will provide researchers access to very valuable materials and information that can be used to better understand how these mutations lead to cancer development and potentially better ways to treat affected individuals. The network will create a link between the physicians who treat patients and the researchers who work at understanding the disease, to the benefit of all.

PI: Dr. Faisal M. Khan (Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute)
Title: Genetic Profiling of Killer Immunoglobulin-Like Receptors (KIRs) of Natural Killer Cells as Predictors of ATG-Conditioned HLA-matched Pediatric Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) Outcomes

Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a life-saving treatment for childhood and adult blood cancers and other blood disorders. However, BMT is toxic, especially due to ensuing hostile attack of graft cells on patient’s tissues (known as graft-vs-host disease, GVHD) or infections, and relapse of cancer. Despite of using donors matched for important immunity affecting genes, BMT is truly beneficial for only ~35% patients. Remaining 65% of patients either die due to relapse, GVHD or infections or suffer long-term due to GVHD. It is therefore important to find other gene systems that can improve BMT outcomes by controlling bad immunity (one that leads to GVHD) and/or by enhancing good immunity (one that fight cancer and infections).

Present study is focused on one such gene system known as ‘KIR’ that dictate the functioning of one of the first type of blood cells that recovers back after BMT. Here, we will assess whether presence/matching of certain KIR genes in donor and recipients lead to improved outcome of pediatric BMT. If yes, we will further refine the KIR gene assessment so that for each pediatric BMT recipient a donor can be chosen that gives the lowest likelihood of complications. This should lead to improved survival and quality of life of pediatric BMT patients.

PI: Dr. Tal Schechter (Hospital for Sick Children)

Title: A population-based study of long-term outcomes in survivors of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation during childhood, adolescence or young adulthood

With modern therapies, more patients who are treated with bone-marrow transplantation (BMT) will continue to survive. Unfortunately, a majority of the survivors will develop long-term side effects of their transplant and related therapies. These late-effects are often severe and can lead to premature death. There are very few publications addressing late-effects after receiving a BMT in childhood. There is even less knowledge on these long-term outcomes after BMT in adolescents and young adults or in patients who underwent BMT for indications other than cancer.

Our research group has extensive experience in the investigation of late complications. In the proposed study, we plan to estimate the risk of late death and the development of subsequent cancer in children, adolescents and young adults who underwent BMT. We also plan to evaluate other health consequences in long-term survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adulthood BMT by assessing parameters such as outpatient clinic visits, and the frequency of hospitalizations. The proposed work is the foundation required to estimate the specific health burden and inform patients and health-care providers regarding the actual risk for late effects. It will also allow to plan for life long risk-based survivor care in young patients who underwent BMT.

C17 Education Webinar: Central Venous Line Dysfunction as a Predictor of Thromboembolism in Children with Cancer – Dr. Uma Anthale

Wednesday June 17, 2015 12:00-1:00 pm MST 


  1. To review potential predictors of thromboembolism in children with cancer and CVLs.
  2. To review complications of CVL dysfunction.
  3. To review study progress to date.

Evaluation and Credit Certification:

Please fill out an evaluation form, available here.   In addition to providing feedback this form is used for attendance and to obtain credit certification.  For credit certification the form must be signed.  Submit the complete form to  or fax 613-738-4828

The C17 Educational Videoconferences is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Webcast and Telehealth Registration:   (The event will be listed under “Public” & “Live”, no registration required)

Book a room with your institution’s Videoconference Department, contact Bryan Makara, Manager, Telemedicine  

Sites in Ontario can have their telemedicine contact register for the videoconference here: