Research is the foundation of successful cancer treatments. Not long ago, cancer was a death sentence for most children. Today, because of advances in research, the survival rate for childhood cancer is just over 80 per cent in wealthy countries like Canada. Still about 90,000 of the 250,000 children diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year succumb to the disease. These children need us to keep working toward a cure.

By supporting our research program, you are creating an environment ripe for scientific discovery, attracting the best and brightest researchers to Calgary. Research in Calgary impacts the care of Alberta children and children worldwide. It offers hope to families everywhere.


For the first time in Canadian history, more than 30 pediatric cancer research and funding groups have joined forces through the Terry Fox PROFYLE initiative, a pan-Canadian project that will give young people, who have run out of conventional treatment options, a second chance at life. Thanks to your support, the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta is one of 30 partners collaborating in the national research effort.

Short for PRecision Oncology For Young people and spearheaded by the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) in Vancouver, PROFYLE is providing $16.4 million to date to establish molecular profiles of patients’ tumours that are resistant to current therapies in order to identify potential new avenues of treatment.

While there has been dramatic improvement in treatments and outcomes for many pediatric cancers over the last three decades, for the 20 per cent of young people whose cancers continue to spread, return, or resist treatment, outcomes remain grim. Terry Fox PROFYLE was developed with these kids in mind.   

Watch the Terry Fox PROFYLE video here.

Read more about this initiative on our blog.

Kids Cancer Care's $1 Million gift creates the Kids Cancer Care Foundation Chair in Child and Family Cancer Care

The first of its kind in Canada, the chair will focus on psychosocial oncology, a subspecialty that addresses the impact of cancer beyond the disease itself, such as strained marital and familial relationships, employment and financial difficulties, stress management and emotional exhaustion -- experiences that are typically overshadowed by the cancer, its treatment and prognosis.

Nancy Moules is the inaugural Kids Cancer Care Foundation Chair in Child and Family Cancer Care. A licensed Registered Nurse as well as an award-winning scholar, teacher and researcher, Moules is widely-recognized for leading innovative research in this field.

Moules acknowledges the significant impact natural science research has had on reducing mortality rates, decreasing side effects, developing new cures and saving lives. "Numbers are great, necessary and useful but there is a story they don't tell," says Moules. "The research we do speaks to experiences such as the worries and efforts of grandparents, the impact on the parental relationship, the experiences of boyfriends and girlfriends of adolescents with cancer, the impact of kids cancer camps, just to name a few."

This gift is the second major gift the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta has made to children's cancer research. In the last 15 years, the charitable organization has awarded more than $10 million in research funding to University of Calgary cancer researchers and students.

"I couldn't be happier than to see this research chair established and to see it go to Nancy Moules," says Christine McIver, founder and chief executive officer of Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. "Nancy is a gifted and respected researcher and as with many nurses, she is filled with compassion for the children and families she serves. Her research and expertise will not only help nurses but will help all health care practitioners to better understand the needs of families."

Kids Cancer Care Chair in Pediatric Oncology

The Kids Cancer Care Chair in Pediatric Oncology is the largest funded oncology chair of its kind in Canada. Dr. Jennifer Chan was introduced as the new holder of the Kids Cancer Care Chair in Pediatric Oncology, September 1, 2015. This research chair was established 10 years ago by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, Kids Cancer Care and other generous donors.

Dr. Chan is an Associate Professor, Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Oncology and Clinical Neurosciences in the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She serves as Deputy Director for the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute as well as program lead for the Childhood Cancer Research Program within the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Chan’s work is focused on brain tumour biology and molecular pathogenesis. She is leading a national bio-banking initiative that enables researchers to access tissue or fluid samples from children’s cancers.

Experimental & Applied Therapeutics (EXPAT)

Kids Cancer Care’s $3.75-million investment into the experimental and applied therapeutics program is supporting collaborative research between researchers at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and University of Calgary.

Paid over five years, Kids Cancer Care’s gift will help shed light onto some of the most perplexing and difficult pediatric cancers, which currently have poor outcomes. 

Collaborating with investigators across the hall and around the globe, the Calgary ExpAT group is working to discover, screen and bring to pre-clinical trial new therapies for children with high-risk cancers. The focus of the experimental and applied therapeutics program is threefold:

  1. To improve current understanding of childhood cancers;
  2. To innovate new therapies and test them in pre-clinical laboratory studies; and
  3. To lead and participate in cutting edge clinical studies with patients to test potential new therapies.

Discoveries made through this collaborative research will add to the growing body of knowledge in pediatric cancers and may one day lead to a cure for some of the toughest cancers.

Hughes Children’s Cancer Research Centre

The Hughes Children’s Cancer Research Centre (HCCRC), is a state-of-the-art research centre at the University of Calgary designed to advance interdisciplinary research into childhood cancers.

Named after the Hughes family, who made the lead donation of $750,000 in 2005, the centre is equipped with cutting-edge research equipment as well as both dry and wet labs. The HCCRC houses basic scientists, researchers and doctors, who work collaboratively to investigate the molecular makeup of cancer cells in cancers with low survival rates. By unlocking the secrets of these cells — how and why they behave as they do — researchers will be able to develop targeted treatments, which selectively kill cancer cells rather than all living cells and so reduce the long-term after effect on growing bodies.

Focusing on experimental therapeutics for cancers with low survival rates, HCCRC researchers are working to develop less invasive treatments that will help combat all cancers. The hope is that one day these treatments will save more lives and minimize the short and long-term side effects of cancer treatments.

International Residency Training Program

Every year, about 250,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Despite recent advances in pediatric cancer research and care, the survival rate for children with cancer in developing countries remains extremely low—about 20 per cent. Although most pediatric cancers are curable, hundreds of thousands of children from these countries die unnecessarily because they lack access to prompt, adequate medical care.  

With your support, Kids Cancer Care is helping address the challenges of childhood cancer in developing nations by funding an international residency training program in pediatric hematology oncology and transplantation (HOT) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The program enables residents from developing nations to specialize in pediatric hematology and oncology, so they may develop the knowledge and expertise they need to train doctors and run a HOT program in their home countries. Residents in the HOT program oversee the in-patient and out-patient oncology clinics as well as the hematology clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Some residents also take part in clinical research while in Calgary.  

To date, three doctors from India have trained in the three-year program and a doctor from Africa is currently training in the program.

“I am learning so much by being at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. As a clinician, I have learnt the use of advanced treatment modalities, which are not available in developing countries and will hopefully become available in India. I am learning how to be part of a multidisciplinary team where each person plays a very important role. I now realize that changes need to be made to the system back home where a physician alone is considered the important element of patient care”

International Resident