Manitoba continues to be at the leading edge of population-based cancer research after successfully competing in the Access to Quality Cancer Care New Emerging Team Grants program supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), CancerCare Manitoba and Cancer Care Nova Scotia.
“This research is going to improve cancer services across the spectrum from prevention and screening to treatment and follow-up,” said Dr. Donna Turner, Epidemiologist at CancerCare Manitoba and associate professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. “Our data will enable us to better understand access issues and will result in evidence-driven decision making. This is an exciting opportunity in which we are connecting research to practice.”
Turner, a co-principal investigator on two Manitoba-based teams as well as a co-applicant on another $1.4 million project funded by CIHR based in Alberta, is working with University of Manitoba principal investigators Dr. Brenda Elias, Community Health Sciences, and Dr. Alan Katz, a family physician and associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences.
Elias and Turner head a multidisciplinary team, which will receive a total of $1.5 million over the next five years, to investigate access to quality cancer care and control for Manitoba’s First Nations. The research involves working with the province’s First Nations population to identify issues, reduce risk and ensure equitable access.
“Currently, there is no effective system for disseminating cancer-related information that addresses the specific needs of First Nations communities,” Elias said. “This project is designed to improve knowledge translation related to cancer prevention, screening, treatment and care, and to develop best practices that can inform decision-making at the community, provincial and national levels.”
Katz is leading another multidisciplinary team that has come together to understand the role of primary care providers in improving outcomes and quality of care for patients with colorectal cancer. The team will receive a total of $1.4 million over the next five years.
“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada, and this project is ultimately aimed at improving patient survival,” Katz said. “Our team is made up of family physicians, nurses, cancer specialists, epidemiologists, cancer survivors and others, and we will be focusing on a number of aspects of this disease related to primary care, including screening and diagnosis, as well as follow-up care. Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer is critical to good outcomes, and our team will be studying how to build new relationships between the cancer care community and primary care providers that support screening and early diagnosis.”
“CancerCare Manitoba is proud to support these teams of multiple experts right across the country, including teams from Manitoba. Together, they are in a unique position to tackle complex questions very germane to the delivery of care in Manitoba,” said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, President & CEO, CancerCare Manitoba.
“Only seven projects in Canada were chosen for funding under this program, and the fact that two are being led by researchers from the University of Manitoba says a great deal about the quality of their work,” said Dr. Emõke Szathmáry, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba. “We congratulate Drs. Katz, Elias and Turner, and each and every one of the researchers who will be involved in these important new projects.”
Access to Quality Cancer Care New Emerging Team Grants: Teams Based in Manitoba
The Knowledge Translation Net Team (KT-NET)
While Canada has a well-established system of provincial cancer registries, there is no existing process for disseminating cancer-related information that meets the specific needs of First Nations communities. Led by University of Manitoba researcher Brenda Elias, community health sciences, and Donna Turner, community health sciences/CancerCare Manitoba, the KT-NET team will develop a knowledge translation surveillance and monitoring research process designed to improve access to cancer care information, from prevention to palliation, for First Nations people.
KT-NET will bring together researchers, health care providers, policy-makers, First Nations communities, and front-line health workers. The team will focus on improving access to information about patterns of cancer incidence, prevalence and mortality; social determinants of behavioural risk; and patterns of screening and treatment utilization. KT-NET will also provide a better understanding of wait times and patient outcomes as these relate to First Nations populations.
In addition to Brenda Elias and Donna Turner, the KT-NET research team includes University of Manitoba researchers Sharon Bruce and Patricia Martens, community health sciences; Alain Demers, Jane Griffith, Erich Kliewer, community health sciences/CancerCare Manitoba and Piotr Czaykowski, internal medicine/CancerCare Manitoba; as well as CancerCare Ontario-based researcher Lorraine Marrett.
The Primary Care Oncology Research Network (PCO-NET)
PCO-NET is a unique, interdisciplinary research program designed to improve outcomes and quality of care for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Led by University of Manitoba researcher Alan Katz, family medicine/community health sciences, PCO-NET is a collaborative team that includes family physicians, nurses, cancer specialists, epidemiologists, cancer survivors and others. PCO-NET will also incorporate information from two valuable sources of research information about cancer service delivery: The Manitoba Cancer Registry and the Research Repository at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.
The network will focus on specific aspects of CRC relevant to primary care, including: the role of family members in decision making for CRC screening, community-based nursing support for family physicians in promoting screening, and transfer of follow-up care from cancer specialists to family physicians after acute treatment.
In addition to Alan Katz, the PCO-NET research team includes University of Manitoba researchers Patricia Martens, community health sciences; Michelle Lobchuk, Nursing; Donna Turner, community health sciences/CancerCare Manitoba; and Jeff Sisler, family medicine/CancerCare Manitoba.