Select Page

$75K commitment to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation will fund new research with potential to
improve patient outcomes

An estimated one in four cancer-related deaths are caused by lung cancer. Research at St. Boniface Hospital, made possible by the support of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), aims to improve the odds for lung cancer patients.

CIBC’s $100,000 donation will go toward a project led by Dr. Michel Aliani, Principal Investigator, Nutritional Metabolomics Research at St. Boniface Hospital Research. His lab has identified a number of biomarkers – molecules found in blood and other body fluids and tissues that allow scientists to see how the body responds to a treatment for a disease – that change with the presence of lung cancer.

Dr. Aliani believes tracking changes in these biomarkers will aid in earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and show why some people respond to particular treatments and others do not. This ability will help doctors track their patients more closely, and quickly detect changes in a patient’s cancer, both during and after treatment.

“We’re proud to support Dr. Aliani and the incredible team at St. Boniface Hospital Research and their ambition to make a healthier society through excellence in research and health care a reality,” said Matt Sachkiw, Vice President & Region Head, CIBC Commercial Banking. “Through this donation, we’re taking another step towards helping achieve our longstanding and collective goal to ensure no one has to fear a cancer diagnosis.”

CIBC has generously supported medical research at St. Boniface Hospital for decades. With this latest commitment CIBC has now donated more than $260,000 to advance research and improve patient lives.

“CIBC’s generous support will provide hope for the thousands of people diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Karen Fowler, President & CEO of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. “This gift demonstrates CIBC’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of Canadians, and we are proud and grateful to join them in their goal to create a future where no one has to fear a cancer diagnosis.”

In 2021 it was estimated 29,600 Canadians would be diagnosed with lung cancer and 21,000 Canadians would die from the disease, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. It is the leading cause of cancer-related death in Canada. One reason for the high death rate is that there is currently no non-invasive early detection protocol for lung cancer. Too many lung cancers are diagnosed too late – often at Stage 3 or 4 – for a hopeful survival prognosis.

Having mapped 250,000 metabolic pathways, Dr. Aliani can analyze metabolic biomarkers to see how the body’s metabolism reacts to different conditions, including cancer. By analyzing non-invasive samples from cancer patients, he can identify the biomarkers that change when a tumour is present and post-cancer.

Analysis of biomarkers in urine could open the door for a simple, non-invasive early detection system for lung cancer. Resulting early diagnosis protocols could dramatically improve the prognosis for those diagnosed with lung cancer in Canada and around the world.

“This important investment is a testament to the world-class research performed at St. Boniface Hospital Research, where leading scientific investigators are discovering new approaches to achieve better medical outcomes for Canadians,” said Dr. Michael Czubryt, Executive Director, St. Boniface Hospital Research.