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CHU Sainte-Justine
Tuesday, April 28 2015
Press release

Together in the fight against childhood cancer

Pediatric oncology

Montreal, Tuesday April 28, 2015 – An exceptional collective gift of $12.5 million is making it possible for the CHU Sainte-Justine to proudly announce a series of major pediatric oncology initiatives. Leucan, the Gouverneurs de l’espoir Foundation, the Néz pour vivre Foundation, the Rossy Family Foundation, CIBC, the Cole Foundation, Industrial Alliance, the Guy Laliberté Foundation, Terry Fox, CSL Behring, Bayer, and the Côté-Dion family have joined forces to fight children’s cancer. This extraordinary philanthropic contribution will enable the CHU Sainte-Justine to further entrench its role as a leader in the treatment and cure of childhood cancers, especially in the following three areas: Personalized Targeted Therapy Research, Psychosocial Oncology and Pediatric Transition to Adult Cancer Survivor Clinic.

“As a leading Supraregional Cancer Centre and a Centre of Excellence in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants, we treat each year the vast majority of Quebec children suffering from cancer,” stated Dr. Fabrice Brunet, President and Chief Executive Officer of CHU Sainte-Justine. “The CHU Sainte-Justine researchers and pediatric oncology teams have two key objectives: curing the 15 to 20% of children whose cancer is resistant to treatment and healing everyone without any of the after effects or complications associated with the treatments and thus decisively improve their quality of life.” Cancer is still the leading cause of death among children under 14 years of age.

Personalized targeted therapy research

The purpose of the Personalized Targeted Therapy Centre is to develop alternative therapies for children who do not respond to conventional treatments. It will be headed by Dr. Michel Duval, hematologist-oncologist, and Dr. Daniel Sinnett, chief of “viral and immune disorders and cancer research” specializing in the genetics of childhood leukemia and their medical and research teams. With the creation of this Centre, the CHU Sainte-Justine becomes a full-fledged player in genomics, as it will now be possible to come up with a personalized targeted therapy within a reasonable timeframe based on the genetic profile of each patient.

“Targeted therapies will render treatments more effective, increase the chances of being cured, increase long-term health by reducing the likelihood of detrimental side effects and therefore help lower healthcare costs in the long run,” declared Dr. Daniel Sinnett. “The success of the project will be predicated on fostering patient-focused research by doing a better job of synching fundamental research with clinical and applied research, and initiating targeted therapy research projects in-house at CHU Sainte-Justine so we may pass on the results of our discoveries to our patients more quickly.”

Psychosocial oncology centre: healing better through more support

With the Psychosocial Oncology Centre, the overall objective of our researchers and clinicians will be to provide children with cancer with a better future, and to advance knowledge and the level of care through a global approach adapted to each child.

“We now know that 50% of children who survive cancer will develop post-traumatic stress syndrome later in their lives. Our centre’s major objectives are to stem the psychosocial repercussions for children diagnosed with cancer, to better ascertain psychosocial needs and to develop innovative interventions to help families,” said Dr. Serge Sultan, psychosocial oncology researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine. “This  will enable us to offer children better overall care and ease their return to their home and school environment; reduce the emotional distress for parents and loved ones so that children can battle cancer with a stronger support network; foster optimal quality psychosocial care among professional caregivers; and advance psychosocial research to enable CHU Sainte-Justine to become an international player in this field, and thus make it possible for more children and patients to benefit from our work.”

Pediatric transition to adult cancer survivor clinic

In North America the cure rate for childhood cancers (all types combined) went from 30% to 80% over the past 30 years. However, of the children who survive cancer, 70% suffer from at least one chronic medical condition (osteoporosis, heart trouble, cognitive issues, metabolic disorders, etc.), and in 30% of these cases, the problem is acute. Also 8% of childhood cancer survivors develop a second cancer within 30 years of having been diagnosed the first time.

“In response to this troubling situation, a systematic and long-term follow up and improved transition to adult care for cancer survivors will be put in place at the CHU Sainte-Justine. Patients at highest risk of major secondary health effects will benefit from a continued, global, multi-disciplinary and personalized health care plan. This clinic will enable us to support and shepherd them through the medical transition process in the best way possible. Our goal is to ensure that these young patients continue to receive the highest level of specialized care so that they can live full, healthy and productive lives as adults,” stated Dr. Caroline Laverdière, hematologist-oncologist at CHU Sainte-Justine.

“The extraordinary support of our community of major donors brought together through our Healing More Better fundraising campaign efforts will enable us to move pediatric oncology research and cutting edge care forward,” said Maud Cohen, president and executive director of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation. “It will empower the CHU Sainte-Justine teams with the means to continue to heal more children, and heal them better and better.”

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About CHU Sainte-Justine

The Sainte-Justine university hospital centre (CHU Sainte-Justine) is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and the second largest pediatric hospital in North America. A member of the Université de Montréal extended network of excellence in health (RUIS), Sainte-Justine has 5,664 employees, including 1,578 nurses and nursing assistants; 1,117 other healthcare professionals; 502 physicians, dentists and pharmacists; 822 residents; and more than 200 researchers, 300 volunteers and 3,400 interns and students in a wide range of disciplines. Sainte-Justine has 484 beds, including 35 at the Centre de réadaptation Marie Enfant, the only exclusively pediatric rehabilitation centre in Quebec. The World Health Organization has recognized CHU Sainte-Justine as a “health promoting hospital.”

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation

The Foundation’s mission is to engage the community and support CHU Sainte-Justine in its commitment to developing better ways to heal more children in Quebec and provide them with one of the highest levels of healthcare in the world.

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Updated on 5/27/2015
Created on 4/28/2015
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