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Prof Awarded $500,000 for Cancer Research

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December 2, 2005

Source: University of Guelph:

Prof Awarded $500,000 for Cancer Research

A University of Guelph biomedical sciences professor is among the first researchers to receive funding from a new provincial network dedicated to supporting cancer research.

Jim Petrik was awarded more than $500,000 for his research on ovarian cancer, the most aggressive and lethal form of cancer in women. His studies will focus on the use of a molecule called thrombospondin to prevent the formation of blood vessels that supply blood to cancer tumours in ovaries. This could lead to the development of powerful therapies to combat or prevent the disease.

"I am ecstatic about receiving this grant," Petrik said, adding biomedical sciences professor Roger Moorehead was the co-applicant for the project. "I am very optimistic that we can have a positive impact on our understanding of ovarian cancer. This funding will provide us with the opportunity to generate an animal model to study this disease, which is something that doesn't exist currently. This is very exciting for us."

The funding was announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty, who is also minister of research and innovation, during an event in Toronto today. It will be provided through the newly created Ontario Cancer Research Network, a provincially funded non-profit organization that helps transform promising laboratory research into new treatments.

"This is wonderful news for the University of Guelph and well-deserved recognition for Dr. Petrik," said president Alastair Summerlee. "Once again, it confirms the pre-eminence of Guelph researchers in applying their work to helping solve some of the most pressing health issues of today."

McGuinty also formally launched the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the first collaborative research institute in Canada to focus efforts on the entire spectrum of cancer issues — from prevention right through to treatments.

The Ontario government is investing more than $142 million over four years through the new institute. Of that, $65.2 million will support ongoing research such as Petrik’s through the Ontario Cancer Research Network.

"This funding will help researchers at the University of Guelph search for new treatments and prevention strategies for cancer," said Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph-Wellington.

Alan Wildeman, U of G's vice-president (research), added: "Dr. Petrik is one of a number of Guelph scientists increasingly recognized for their biomedical research. His contributions to this new provincial initiative are very significant."

A U of G faculty member since 2001, Petrik teaches courses in physiology and anatomy at the Ontario Veterinary College. He also studies the regulation of growth factors and formation of blood vessels in the ovary. He’s interested in learning more about the causes of various diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. As the most common cause of infertility, this disease prevents ovulation in 15 per cent of women.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.



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