Areas of Research
Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute members are involved in studies that span the four pillars of research: biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research.
By balancing our research efforts across these four essential pillars, we are addressing immediate needs of cancer patients and their families, while making discoveries that will change how we detect, diagnose, treat, and cure cancer in the future.
Biomedical research by Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute members seeks to:
- learn how tumour suppressors in our cells stop cancers from forming and how cancer disables them, and find ways to restore tumour suppressors’ ability to protect us
- identify cancer biomarkers that can be used to diagnose cancers and monitor the effectiveness of treatments
- discover how cells shift from a non-dividing to a proliferative state
- reveal the mechanisms that allow cancers to spread and find ways to block them (angiogenesis and metastasis)
- develop a variety of novel cancer treatments, based on viruses, new compounds and naturally occurring molecules in the human body as well as in plants and animals
- understand how the immune system and cancer interact and find ways to supercharge the immune system against cancer.
Clinical research by Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute members works to:
- improve patient care and health outcomes by testing experimental therapies and new treatment protocols in clinical trials through the Atlantic Clinical Cancer Research Unit (ACCRU)
- determine optimal chemotherapy dosing for children and adolescents by taking part in international oncology clinical trials (Children’s Oncology Group)
- understand and address the psychological, social and emotional aspects of the cancer experience (psychosocial oncology).
Health services research by Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute members aims to:
- examine access to and quality of colorectal cancer services in Nova Scotia across the cancer control continuum (Team Access)
- explore issues around quality of end-of-life care and identify and overcome barriers to access
- identify and remove barriers to timely access to cancer surgery
- introduce systems that improve quality of post-surgery reporting and adherence to surgical guidelines (Synoptic Reporting Project)
- analyze the costs versus the benefits of new drugs to provide policy makers with evidence to back funding decisions (pharmacoeconomic research)
Population health research by Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute members is embarking on a major initiative to:
- uncover the long-term impact of diet, lifestyle, genetics and environmental exposures on the development of cancer in Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (Atlantic PATH)