The Tragically Hip recognized for supporting brain cancer research

A commemorative plaque presented in honour of their support for cancer clinical trials
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Thanks to the Tragically Hip for their support of brain cancer research

Gord Sinclair, from left, and Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip, Janet Dancy, director of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, and Lynne Hudson, president and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, at the unveiling of a plaque honouring The Hip.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) recognized Kingston hometown heroes the Tragically Hip for their support of brain cancer research. A commemorative plaque was presented to the band in honour of their support for cancer clinical trials at the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG).

CCTG, housed at Queen’s University in Kingston, is supported by a core grant from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Since the announcement last year that the Hip’s frontman Gord Downie has glioblastoma (an aggressive form of brain cancer), many Canadians have shown their support through donations to CCS.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is very grateful to the Tragically Hip and their generous fans for this donation of $400,000 for brain cancer research,” says Lynne Hudson, CCS president, and CEO. “Clinical trials offer hope for people with cancer and provide an opportunity for researchers to find better treatments for others in the future. CCS is proud to be able to support clinical trials at CCTG across the country through donations from the public.”

Clinical trials can help patients directly. For example, in collaboration with colleagues in Europe, CCTG conducted a trial to see if a chemotherapy drug called temozolomide along with radiation following surgery for glioblastoma could improve survival. The trial showed positive results, and this combination therapy is what Downie received at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

Every day about 25 Canadians are diagnosed with some form of brain tumour. Glioblastoma is an aggressive disease and is the most common primary brain cancer in adults. Unfortunately, most adults with a diagnosis of glioblastoma survive only 1–2 years after diagnosis.

“This is a great example of the Faculty of Health Sciences’ vision in action: to ask questions, seek answers, advance care and inspire change,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of Health Sciences. “Queen’s is proud to serve as host to CCTG’s cutting edge research; it is humbling to have this research happening right in our own backyard.”

“As researchers, our greatest achievement is to see patients with cancer benefit from treatments that were proven effective by the work we do at CCTG,” says Janet Dancey, the group’s director. “Building on past international research successes, CCTG is looking at future clinical trials using promising treatments, including viral therapies and drugs to stimulate the immune system.”

There is no cure for glioblastoma yet, but clinical trials help doctors know which treatments are the most effective in improving survival rates and quality of life.  For patients and families struggling with a cancer diagnosis more time is often a gift – more time to hold a family members hand or more time to play music for your fans.