On April 5th, the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) honoured the Tragically Hip for their contributions to brain cancer research, and presented the band with a commemorative plaque.
In the research world we talk a lot about the importance of collaboration in driving research breakthroughs. Today, no researcher would question that pooling expertise, trading ideas and sharing resources is a better way to solve problems or answer difficult questions than working alone.
One of the finest examples of this collaborative approach is the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, right here at Queen’s. A truly global endeavor, CCTG’s collaborations encompass 80 member institutions across more than 40 countries. In Canada alone, more than 2,100 cancer specialists are taking part in its trials.
For 25 years, CCTG has been one of the most significant players in the cancer trials space in the world; and we saw an example of this just last year. The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, one of the most prestigious cancer meetings, has a special session where they present the four most important international papers to showcase. Last year, two were from CCTG. This was an unprecedented honour that recognized their trial research as being among the highest impact in the world.
But research collaborations aren’t always confined to research labs. Sometimes they arise unexpectedly, out of adversity and challenge, and today we celebrate the results of one such collaboration.
Thanks to the members of the Tragically Hip and their fans, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Clinical Trials Group are making new progress towards better treatments for brain cancer.
The band’s decision last year to share with its fans that its frontman, Gord Downie, had an aggressive form of cancer called glioblastoma, led to an overwhelming response by fans wanting to show their support, resulting in $400,000 in donations to the Canadian Cancer Society.
This funding will support research into this difficult-to-treat disease. The CCTG, for example, collaborates with colleagues in Europe to test a new combination therapy for glioblastoma. The results are positive, and today many patients, including Mr. Downie, are benefiting from the trials that test new therapies.
Together, the Hip, their fans, the Canadian Cancer Society, and CCTG have shown us how collaboration can have unexpected, powerful consequences that create positive change. They have raised awareness of this disease, supported cancer research through funding clinical trials and then translating that support into better treatments for patients.
So let us celebrate today this unique collaboration, and extend our heartfelt thanks – to Gord Downie, Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Faye, and the legions of Hip fans who supported the band’s last tour; to the Canadian Cancer Society and who channeled that support into research; and to the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, whose researchers continue that organization’s groundbreaking work in finding better treatments, and ultimately cures, for cancer.
Please share your thoughts by commenting on the blog, or better yet, drop by the Macklem House…my door is always open.