The program seeks to improve the care and outcomes of Canadians living with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with special focus on improving health equity in this setting.
November 2, 2023 – The Lung Health Foundation (LHF), Lung Cancer Canada (LCC), the Quebec Lung Association (QLA) and Pfizer Canada are proud to announce two recipients of their first Quality Improvement (QI) grant program who will collectively receive approximately $200,000 in grants for their work in developing innovative strategies to measurably improve the quality of care for people living with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The LHF, LCC, QLA and Pfizer Canada have committed to support the following initiatives that aim at improving care and outcomes throughout the patient journey:
Winner: Dr. Rosalyn Juergens, MD PhD, Head of the Department of Clinical Trials – Juravinski Cancer Centre, Escarpment Cancer Research Institute Scientist and Associate Professor of Oncology McMaster University:
Liquid vs. solid tissue biopsy for mutation and translocation detection in non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer: Improving equity in cancer care delivery across Central-West Ontario.
The main objective is to assess the clinical utility of testing ctDNA/RNA obtained through a liquid (blood) biopsy next generation sequencing (NGS) assay in comparison to tissue biopsy (histology or cytology) in community oncology centres across the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, and Brant regions of Ontario.
Due to geography and logistics, patients investigated outside major centres experience longer turnaround times for molecular testing thus delaying initiation of treatment. Regardless of geography and social determinants of health, this program aims to address disparities and improve equity in the delivery of cancer care.
Winner: Dr. Lacey Pitre, FRCP(C), Medical Oncologist and Lead for the Cancer Clinical Trials Team at the Shirley & Jim Fielding Northeast Cancer Centre in Sudbury, ON:
Evaluation of quality-of-life outcomes for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during a decentralized cancer clinical trial.
Participation in clinical trials can offer cancer patients the most advanced treatment for their disease. All cancer patients deserve equitable access to the full spectrum of treatment options available to them. However, patients who live more than 150 kilometers away from a centralized regional cancer centre are often not eligible to participate in a clinical trial. For this reason, the ‘healthcare research network’ was created to deliver the first remote clinical trial to eligible lung cancer patients in Northeastern Ontario.
The goal of this project is to assess quality of life and evaluate outcomes from care in metastatic NSCLC patients receiving treatment on a decentralized/remote cancer clinical trial and measure this novel model of healthcare delivery which increases access to potentially life-saving treatments for patients residing in rural and remote areas.
“We are proud to partner for the very first time with the Lung Health Foundation, Lung Cancer Canada, and Quebec Lung Association to award, through our Quality Improvement grant program, these two innovative projects that focus on health equity and excellence, values that we hold in great importance at Pfizer,” says Andrew Brown, Medical Affairs Lead, Oncology, Pfizer Canada. “Together, we are committed to improving the lives of Canadians living with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who, as any other Canadian, deserve the best quality of care regardless of their geographical residence.”
Grant recipients were determined by a joint review panel comprised of the Lung Health Foundation, Lung Cancer Canada, and the Quebec Lung Association as well as patients living with metastatic NSCLC. The joint Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in April 2023 describes areas of interest for the allocation of QI grants focused on optimizing the care and outcomes of metastatic NSCLC patients in Canada.
“The Lung Health Foundation believes in investing in research that addresses the urgent gaps in early detection and treatment of NSCLC,” says Jessica Buckley, President and CEO of the Lung Health Foundation. “We are excited to work with the two funded project teams to learn from their research and amplify their findings to inform how we best manage NSCLC. The Lung Health Foundation remains committed to advancing a robust and pragmatic research agenda for Lung Cancer and thanks Pfizer for the opportunity to be involved.”
“Over the years, research in lung cancer has made great strides thanks to the invaluable contribution of many passionate researchers. Yet, lung cancer leads to more deaths than any other cancer in Canada,” say Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, medical oncologist. “Despite the high mortality and unmet need, unfortunately lung cancer research remains underfunded. That is why we are thrilled to partner with the Lung Health Foundation, the Quebec Lung Association and Pfizer Canada to award grants to two research projects with the goal of improving lives of Canadians affected by metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.” says Mr. Shem Singh, Executive Director of Lung Cancer Canada.
“There are still stigmas associated with lung cancer, in addition to disparities in accessing care and treatment. These issues are among our organization's most pressing concerns,” says Dominique Massie, CEO of the Quebec Lung Association. “That is why we are pleased to collaborate on this program with Pfizer that focuses on supporting research projects with the potential to improve equity and quality of life for people living with metastatic lung cancer.”
The grants were awarded in support of organizations/institutions working to enable healthcare providers and systems to optimize the care and outcomes of metastatic NSCLC patients.
About Quality Improvement Grants
A QI grant is a type of grant which consists of Pfizer funding to support independent projects which can lead to measurable improvement in health care services, the health status of individuals and targeted patient groups.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada ULC is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. Our diversified health care portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most prescribed medicines and vaccines. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, X or YouTube.
About the Lung Health Foundation
The Lung Health Foundation (formerly Ontario Lung Association) is a national organization that has been dedicated to ending gaps in the prevention, diagnosis and care of lung disease for over a century. We invest in the future by driving ground-breaking research, advocate for policy change, and give people living with lung disease and their families the programs and support they need today. We help Canadians with lung disease live their best life though programs such as Fitness for Breath, and work to ensure future generations don’t suffer the debilitating effects of lung disease by powering programs like Quash, an app designed to support youth smoking and vaping cessation. Lung health starts now! For more information, visit www.lunghealth.ca.
About Lung Cancer Canada
Lung Cancer Canada is the only national organization focused exclusively on lung cancer education, patient support, research, and advocacy. Activities are both regional and pan-Canadian, and LCC is a member of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Visit www.lungcancercanada.ca.
About the Quebec Lung Association
The Quebec Lung Association is a non-profit organization that has been working in the field of respiratory health for 135 years, serving 3 million sufferers in Quebec and covering 89 causes and diseases. In 2014, the QLA created the Fondation québécoise en santé respiratoire (FQSR). This organization makes it possible to offer grants to young researchers in the field of respiratory health, in both basic and clinical research. Visit: poumonquebec.ca.