Media Release

The Canadian Cancer Society, CQDM, the Cole Foundation and Oncopole grant close to $8.5 million to four researchers in Quebec to support pediatric cancer research


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), CQDM, the Cole Foundation and Oncopole – pôle cancer du FRQS announced, today, grants of $ 8,485,132 to finance four research projects in Quebec, as part of the Pediatric Cancer Research Initiative. This funding, which will take place over three years, is part of a unique partnership created to support pediatric cancer research, which has mobilized many donors, stakeholders and companies based in Quebec.

The Initiative will accelerate the development of platforms, tools and treatments to support advancements across all areas of pediatric cancer care: prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“We believe one child with cancer is one too many. Childhood cancer is the number one cause of disease-related death in Canadian children past infancy and 2 out of every 3 childhood cancer survivors will suffer long-term side effects from their treatment. Fortunately, most children will survive but it is a devastating and life-altering diagnosis for a child and their family,” said Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. “We know research can change outcomes for children faced with cancer, which is why we’re so pleased to partner with CQDM, the Cole Foundation and Oncopole to support these life-saving research projects led by researchers in Quebec.”


Dr Étienne Caron and Dr Sonia Cellot, with the participation of Dr Isabelle Sirois, CHU Sainte-Justine, in collaboration with Université Laval, Neomabs Biotechnologies and Immune Biosolutions, developing new immunotherapy treatments for people with acute pediatric leukemia.

Dr Elie Haddad, CHU Sainte-Justine, in collaboration with Immugenia, developing a new way to use Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CAR) to treat acute pediatric lymphoblastic leukemia and rhabdomyosarcoma.

Dr Richard Marcotte, National Research Council of Canada (NRC), in collaboration with CHU-Sainte-Justine and Jenthera Therapeutics, developing a new therapeutic target to improve treatment outcomes for children living with leukemia.

Dr Brian Wilhelm, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal, in collaboration with CHU Sainte-Justine, Université Laval, MédiMabs and Cyclenium Pharma, developing new, targeted treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) as well as nanotechnology to detect these cancers and monitor treatment.

"It is by focusing on research that we will respond to major challenges in the field of health. By supporting CQDM, we want to give our researchers the necessary latitude to find innovative treatments that will change the lives of thousands of Quebec children," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal region.

"Collaborative research like that conducted by these four teams advances science. Research and innovation are at the heart of our Health Plan's priorities. We must accelerate the adoption of solutions to better meet the needs of children, because far too many of them are still unfortunately affected by cancer," said Christian Dubé, Minister of Health.

"CQDM is pleased to be part of this collective effort to facilitate these multi-stakeholder R&D projects and accelerate the translation of discoveries into products that meet unmet medical needs. The potential of these projects on the health of young patients illustrates the power of a collaborative effort between innovative companies in Quebec and our academic researchers. CQDM's contribution is made possible by a $3.75M contribution from the Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l’Énergie (MEIE)," said Diane Gosselin, CEO of CQDM.

“Today we celebrate the collective contributions of a large number of private foundations and cancer related agencies who have combined their financial resources with those of Quebec pharmaceutical companies to fund this important research in pediatric and young adult leukemia,” said Barry Cole, President and Chairman of the Cole Foundation.

“The projects that are being funded are perfectly aligned with the objectives of Oncopole and the FRQS which are to mobilize, innovate and find a cure. Thanks to the financial support of the MEIE and our founding partner Merck, we can contribute to this program, which allows for major advancements in pediatric cancer research,” said Carole Jabet, Scientific Director, FRQS

Click here to see our four Quebec-based researchers talk about their funded research projects.

This project is also made possible through the additional financial support of The Molson Foundation, the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation, the Fondation J. Armand Bombardier, Leucan, the Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, the R. Howard Webster Foundation, the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, IRICoR, IRIC and Pfizer Canada.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, across Canada and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish health policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever. Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

About CQDM

CQDM is a biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies that will accelerate the discovery and development of safer and more effective drugs. We bring together world-class pharmaceutical corporations, several Canadian biotech companies, the best scientists from both the public and private sectors, as well as the Canadian and Québec governments. CQDM’s collaborative approach bridges the funding gap needed to drive innovation across the academic and private sectors, especially where early-stage research is concerned. For more information:

About the Cole Foundation

The Cole Foundation was created in 1980 as a private initiative in Montreal to promote research and patient care in the area of pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphoma. The initiative aims to break down barriers, encourage closer collaborations between institutions, develop new research teams and promote new ideas to impact cancer.

About Oncopole

Oncopole, pôle cancer du FRQS, a Quebec hub for research, development and investment to accelerate the fight against cancer, is the product of a unique co-creation process made possible thanks to our founding partner Merck Canada. Oncopole’s mission is to act as a catalyst leveraging actions made by the key players in Quebec’s oncology and innovation research ecosystem. As a result, it aims to position the province as a leader in the field. For more information, go to:

For more information, to confirm your presence at the event or to schedule an interview with one of the spokespersons, please contact:

Brigitte Filiatrault

Brigitte Filiatrault Relations Publiques (BFRP) for Canadian Cancer Society
514-702-2744 /