Three scientists working in a laboratory.
our impact

Driving cancer research innovation together

2022/23 Research Impact Report

A year of high-performance, person-centred research

In this report, you will read about how your support of cancer research in 2022/23 enabled us to invest in world-leading research that is saving and improving the lives of all those affected by cancer. 

Throughout the year, we remained focused on our vision to fund scientifically excellent, high-performance and person-centred research that improves cancer outcomes and drives the greatest progress. Thanks to your generosity, we invested an incredible $50.1 million in cancer research and innovation programs across cancer types and spanning the entire cancer continuum.

In 2022/23, we launched new research competitions, continued our support for hundreds of ongoing exciting research projects and clinical trials, and completed critical foundational work as we prepared to publicly launch our bold new research strategy. Importantly, we deepened our commitment to putting people at the core of cancer research, engaging an expanded network of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in various stages of the research and funding process. These efforts are ensuring that the unique and critical needs of people impacted by cancer are reflected in the research we support.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible community of people who care about cancer and cancer research – from donors, supporters and funding partners to researchers, people with cancer, healthcare practitioners and cancer care delivery experts. Because of you, we are fuelling discoveries that are shaping how we prevent, diagnose, treat and live with and beyond cancer.

Thank you – we are deeply grateful for your support. Together, we are transforming the future of cancer.
Andrea Seale, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Cancer Society
Andrea Seale
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Cancer Society
D. Stuart Edmonds

Dr Stuart Edmonds
Executive Vice President
Mission, Research and Advocacy
Canadian Cancer Society

Portrait Christine Friedenreich
Dr Christine Friedenreich
Scientific Chair
Advisory Council on Research
Canadian Cancer Society

A snapshot of our research impact

As the largest national charitable funder of cancer research, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is funding world-leading research and uniting and inspiring all people in Canada to take control of cancer. Thanks to your support of cancer research, in 2022/23 we:

Invested $50.1M in high-impact research and innovation Invested $50.1M in high-impact research and innovation
Enabled 3,665 people to access potentially life-changing clinical trials Enabled 3,665 people to access potentially life-changing clinical trials
Supported 394 research projects across the cancer continuum Supported 394 research projects across the cancer continuum
Engaged 61 patients, caregivers and survivors to inform research decisions Engaged 61 patients, caregivers and survivors to inform research decisions
Collaborated with 11 funding partners to make donations go further Collaborated with 11 funding partners to make donations go further
Supported 42 research institutions across all 10 provinces Supported 42 research institutions across all 10 provinces
CCS funding helps to support cutting-edge research programs. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we’re advancing science innovation now, which can help to save lives in the future.
Dr Rayjean J. Hung, CCS-funded researcher, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health

Stories of research impact 

CCS-funded researchers are making tremendous progress in finding innovative and person-centred approaches to preventing, detecting and treating many cancers and improving quality of life for people living with or beyond cancer. Here are a few examples of the impact our research is making.

Dr Nielsen Torsten

Saving lives with the right diagnosis at the right time – Dr Torsten Nielsen

An innovative test developed by clinician-scientist Dr Torsten Nielsen with funding from CCS is making it easier to accurately diagnose different soft tissue cancers, resulting in life-changing outcomes for people like Kieren O’Neil. The team is now working on 2 additional tests for other sarcoma types, including one for liposarcomas that has recently been accredited and is now in use at Vancouver General Hospital.

Dr Nielsen Torsten

Creating a richer, more equitable cancer care system – Dr Aisha Lofters

Dr Aisha Lofters is a clinician, scientist, teacher and mentor recognized across Canada and internationally as a leader in health equity cancer research. Her work focuses on evaluating and understanding inequities in cancer care experienced by systemically marginalized populations and identifying solutions to enhance care and improve cancer outcomes. Watch this video to hear Dr Lofters share the story of her career and her involvement with CCS.

3 minutes with CCS-funded researcher Dr Aisha Lofters
[Dr Aisha Lofters appears on screen.]
Dr Lofters: My name is Dr. Aisha Lofters. I'm a family physician and a researcher at Women's College Hospital. I'm specifically based at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women's Cancers, where I hold the Chair in Implementation Science. And I'm also a Medical Director. Canadian Cancer Society has funded much of my research, has funded me as a researcher. And I currently serve on the Advisory Council on Research for CCS.
Words on screen: What is the focus of your cancer research?
Dr Lofters: I'm a family physician, so my approach to cancer really comes from that lens of prevention and screening. So much of my research really has been on cancer prevention and screening, but very much with the health equity lens. So thinking about who are the people who are not as easily able to access screening, not as easily able to access things like smoking cessation, healthy lifestyle, healthy diet. 
Words on screen: Why is focusing on health equity in cancer research important?
Dr Lofters: I think it's really important that we have projects that focus on health equity and cancer research because we've seen in the past, if we don't keep health equity front and centre, what ends up happening is that we inadvertently increase health inequities. It's a very common trend that we see that a new innovation comes in, but it only reaches those who are at the centre who are in the mainstream population. So they reap benefits while those that the margins don't. And that gap actually ends up widening.
Words on screen: What excited you about CCS’s Health Equity Research Grants?
Dr Lofters: So I was really excited to see when the Canadian Cancer Society came out with their health equity research grants. I think it is an amazing opportunity. Again, it's doing just what I've been talking about, which is prioritising health equity, putting health equity front and centre, and, you know, really walking the talk and actually providing resources and funding to allow this work to happen. This specific health equity funding from CCS, I think, is such an innovative and exciting opportunity for us in Canada.
Words on screen: What message do you want to share with CCS donors?
Dr Lofters: My personal message to donors would just be a very sincere and heartfelt thank you. In the coming up on 20 years of my research career, so much of it has been funded by Canadian Cancer Society, and I recognise that much of that comes from donors. I'd like to think that the work that I'm doing and the work that my team is doing really is advancing health equity in the cancer research space in Canada. And I think thank you is just the most important thing that I would say, and that I hope for support, not just for myself, but for other up-and-coming new researchers as well.

[The Canadian Cancer Society logo appears on the screen.]
Dr Dan Renouf

Improving survival for people with pancreatic cancer – Canadian Cancer Trials Group

An international clinical trial has changed the way doctors treat pancreatic cancer around the world. Led by the Unicancer Group in France and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), a CCS national program, the groundbreaking study tested a new 3-drug chemotherapy combination to improve outcomes for people whose pancreatic cancer was removed by surgery and found that it was more effective than the current standard of care.
Dr Dan Renouf
CCS is creating space for diverse perspectives in health, not just research on equity, but funding opportunities that are more inclusive, encourage a diversity of methodologies and research questions that benefit specific populations or communities. We will all benefit from that diversity.
Lori Chambers, CCS patient partner

New CCS-funded grants and awards

Each year, with donor support, we seek out and fund the very best science through a wide range of grant programs that contribute to a balanced and well-rounded funding portfolio, covering all pillars of research. The grants are co-created, reviewed and selected by a diverse group of researchers, patient partners and other stakeholders with research and healthcare delivery and policy experience, as well as lived experience with cancer. In addition to funding high-impact research that is relevant to people affected by cancer, we recognize Canada’s leading cancer researchers for their outstanding achievements. Here are a few highlights from 2022/23.
In partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Brain Canada, the Cancer Research Society and the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation, we are funding 10 CCS Breakthrough Team Grants, the largest ever collective effort in Canada focused on changing outcomes for 6 low-survival cancers. Together, we are investing more than $55 million in these promising projects to accelerate progress against pancreatic, esophageal, brain, lung, liver and stomach cancers.
Cancer can affect anyone, but not everyone has the same experience. To ensure everyone in Canada has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer, we launched the inaugural CCS Health Equity Research Grants. In total, we are investing $1.6 million in 6 promising projects that address specific health inequities in cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship
To help people with cancer benefit from research discoveries sooner, we launched the inaugural Accelerator Grants, investing nearly $2 million in 13 research teams across Canada. This funding opportunity is intended to stimulate the implementation of evidence-based programs, practices and policies (i.e. interventions), within 2-5 years, that will improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

To address concerns related to accessibility, completeness, quality, and timeliness of cancer data in Canada, we launched the Data Transformation Grants, investing $1.8 million in 15 promising projects that have the potential to be instrumental in improving cancer data in Canada, ultimately leading to more equitable and timely access to innovative and affordable, high-quality cancer care.

In 2022/23, CCS renewed support of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) with a 5-year $30-million commitment to CCS’s national clinical trials program. With an international reputation for running Canada’s most impactful cancer clinical trials, CCTG is testing cancer therapies, supportive care and prevention interventions to benefit not just people with cancer in Canada but around the world. The grant renewal represents a continuation of CCS's largest program investment supporting CCTG strategic objectives as well as the development and conduct of trials.

We were thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of 6 remarkable researchers whose leadership and contributions have played an important role in advancing cancer research in Canada. The recipients of the 2021 CCS Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research were:

  • Dr Tak Mak (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) – Lifetime Contribution Prize
  • Dr Aisha Lofters (Women’s College Hospital) – Inclusive Excellence Prize
  • Dr David Malkin (Hospital for Sick Children) – O. Harold Warwick Prize
  • Dr Michael Taylor (Hospital for Sick Children) – Robert L. Noble Prize
  • Dr Trevor Pugh (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) – Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize
  • Dr Robin Urquhart (Dalhousie University) – William E. Rawls Prize
For me, donating to an organization like the Canadian Cancer Society is an important act. I support cancer research to improve the lives of those with cancer by helping to fund researchers who are seeking a cure for this terrible disease.
Diane Campbell, CCS donor (pictured here with her husband, Wes Campbell)

Patient engagement

Evidence shows that engaging people with lived experience of cancer in the research funding process can more closely align research with patient priorities, resulting in improved health outcomes. In 2022/23, we finalized our first Patient Engagement in Cancer Research plan. Co-developed with a team of patients, survivors, caregivers and researchers, the plan is helping us ensure the voices of people affected by cancer are embedded in decision-making and capacity-building across our research programs from planning to implementation and evaluation.
Being involved with research is a meaningful and healing experience. Despite the hardships we have faced, we are able to channel our pain into work that will improve outcomes for others who are impacted by cancer.
Cathy P., CCS patient partner

Our research strategy 

We are committed to accelerating research progress that could save and improve lives. In 2022/23, we laid the foundation for our public launch of a new research strategy. The strategy takes a bold and exciting approach to supporting research – one that puts people at its core. Watch this short video to learn more.
Canadian Cancer Society research strategy

[A map of Canada centred on the screen appears.]

Words on screen: Canada 1.5 million people

Voice-over (VO): Right now, 1.5 million people in Canada are living with or beyond cancer. To save and improve their lives, research is the key.

[The text fades away and the outline of the map dynamically changes into the outline of a close-up of two people holding hands with one another.]

VO: As Canada’s largest charitable funder of cancer research, the Canadian Cancer Society seeks out the very best science.

[The Canadian Cancer Society logo appears on screen]

[Four researchers in white coats are working in a lab on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, a group of people in a focus group are sitting on chairs in a circle having a discussion. The leader of the focus group is holding a clipboard and taking notes.]
VO: Our rigorous review process ensures the most promising ideas are supported wherever they are in the country and for every cancer type.

[Four people are sitting in a boardroom at a table looking at their laptops. The people are actively working on the laptops. Scores (between 0 to 5 stars) appear from each laptop one-by-one and then disappear before another score appears. This continues until the end of the scene.]

[A map of Canada appears, and people pop up throughout the country. They different races, gender identities and body types. Each one represents a different cancer type.]

VO: Our research strategy puts people at the core and aims to make progress toward four goals.

[Four icons appear on the screen. Below each icon, the corresponding words on the screen appear:


[The bud of a daffodil appears in the centre of the screen. It blooms and fills more of the screen. The camera zooms out to show the daffodil in a field of many other daffodils. A group of five diverse people appear in the shot]

VO: Together, we can change the future of cancer and create more tomorrows with the people we love.

[A yellow background and the Canadian Cancer Society’s logo appears in the centre of the screen.]

Words on the screen below the logo: Help fuel world-class research in Canada. 

Learn more and donate today:

The power of research partnerships

Mutually beneficial research collaborations enable CCS and our partners to expand the scope, depth and focus of our funded research. Through our partnerships, we can support more high-quality and potentially life-changing research projects than we could fund alone. Last year, CCS worked with 11 federal and provincial government organizations as well as other health charities and foundations. We are committed to continuing to collaborate with funding partners to maximize our impact.

Thank you

The future of cancer research has never been more promising. Together with our donors, partners and supporters, we are uniting and inspiring all people in Canada to take control of cancer.

To learn more about our research or to make a donation, visit or call 1-888-939-3333.