$1 million donation to BC Cancer Foundation provides major boost to early cancer detection research in B.C

Hope is on the horizon for early detection of ovarian cancer thanks to a $1 million donation to the BC Cancer Foundation from Canary Foundation, a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to funding early detection of cancer.

Canary Foundation?s Canadian-born founder and 25-year technology veteran Don Listwin announced the gift to the BC Cancer Foundation yesterday. The funds will be used by the BC Cancer Agency on Vancouver Island as part of a unique, collaborative, multi-institute research project with the end goal of creating a simple blood test to screen women for ovarian cancer early enough to boost survival and cure rates.

?My motivation is my family. We have been deeply affected by cancer,? said Listwin, whose father is a colon cancer survivor. The death of his mother from ovarian cancer prompted him to form Canary Foundation in 2004. ?The mission of Canary Foundation is to advance early detection of cancer, when it is most treatable and chances for a full recovery are greatest. We are very excited about partnering with the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency. Michael Ball, the CEO of GenoLogics, in Victoria, was instrumental in connecting me to the BC Cancer Foundation,? noted Listwin. ?Initially, a common vision for the future of early cancer detection using proteomics research connected us.

The GenoLogics team played a significant role in encouraging a donation from Canary Foundation to kick off the relationship with the BC Cancer Foundation.?

?Less than ten per cent of cancer research funding goes to early detection,? Listwin added. ?Our emphasis is on collaboration across technologies and institutions. We have assembled some of the world?s leading researchers, including Dr. Brad Nelson from the BC Cancer Agency, to attack early detection in a new collaborative approach.?

?If ovarian cancer can be detected early, it is highly curable with current treatments,? says Nelson, director of the BC Cancer Agency?s Trev and Joyce Deeley Research Centre in Victoria, which is conducting the Canadian portion of the project. Nelson has been interested in developing a blood test for ovarian cancer for over 14 years, since his mother-in-law died of the disease. ?The funding and scientific organization provided by Canary Foundation will allow me to achieve my personal goal of fighting back against

this disease. I am very excited at the prospect of working on such an important problem with such an outstanding team of scientists, and with the experienced leadership and generous support of Don Listwin.?

Other members of the world-class team assembled to work on the Canary project include: from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – Nobel Laureate, Dr. Lee Hartwell, Drs. Nicole Urban and Sam Hanash; from Stanford University – Drs. Pat Brown and Sam Gambhir; from the University of Southern California -Dr. Peter Laird; from the University of California, San Francisco ? Dr. Frank McCormick; and Dr. Andrew Berlin of Intel Corporation. ?The BC Cancer Foundation is truly honoured and humbled by Don Listwin and his Canary Foundation?s extraordinary generosity and commitment,? said Mary McNeil, president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, who accepted the cheque from Don Listwin. ?Early detection is key to better cancer outcomes, yet it is one of the most challenging areas to fund. Don Listwin?s example is not only unique, it is absolutely vital to our ability to make progress in the fight against cancer.?

The BC Cancer Foundation raises funds to support research and enhancements to care at the BC Cancer Agency. The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer.

Canary Foundation, named after the ?early detection? role canaries once played by alerting coal miners of hazardous fumes, is the only American non-profit exclusively devoted to early detection of cancer.