Today we recognize World Cancer Day to bring more awareness to this deadly disease that the World Health Organization categorizes as “one of ten threats to global health.”
9.6 million people die from cancer each year. That number is only expected to grow, but there is more that can be done to prevent these staggering numbers from increasing. Although up to 10% of cancers are related to genetic mutation, another 27% of cancer deaths are from tobacco and alcohol use.
At CHRIM, our researchers are working tirelessly to gain knowledge and advance the current evidence of what we know about cancer prevention strategies and treatments.
Located in Brandon, Manitoba, CHRIM researcher Dr. Michael Charette and his lab study the assembly of ribosomes, tiny machines in all our cells that read our genetic information (through mRNA) and translate it into proteins. These proteins give our cells their shape and allow our bodies to move (think about the proteins that make up our muscles!), and support basic body functions such as digestion.
Their lab is learning some exciting information about ribsomes from two perspectives: 1) the control of cell growth in development and cancer, and 2) rare genetic diseases that are due to errors in the assembly of ribosomes.
Looking at cancer through an expressive arts approach is Dr. Christina West who is supporting children and families in expressing, understanding and sharing their illness experiences with each other, and the clinicians who care for them.
Dr. West’s team uses an expressive arts method called ‘dialoguing with images’ to help family members explore their illness experiences in qualitative research interviews. Families were asked to draw an image of their experience of blood and marrow transplant and were then guided through a dialogue with their image.
Dr. Mahmoud Torabi and his research group have worked on a number of cancer projects including leukaemia, colorectal, and lung cancers. Their interest is to identify geographical variation and factors associated with cancer incidence and mortality.
In particular, for the childhood leukaemia in Manitoba, their lab discovered that the south-eastern part of province had a higher incidence of childhood leukaemia than other parts of the province. Additionally, they identified some areas with higher proportions of immigrants that had increased rates of childhood leukaemia.
More information on their incredible work can be found here.
More information about World Cancer Day and what you can do to show your support can be found at www.worldcancerday.org. To support local cancer research happening right here in Manitoba, visit www.goodbear.ca.