Grants awarded for innovative strategies to help improve the lives and quality of care for those living with advanced bladder cancer
MISSISSAUGA, ON and KIRKLAND, QC, Oct. 18, 2022 - In collaboration with Bladder Cancer Canada, EMD Serono and Pfizer Canada announced today their selection of two inaugural grant recipients for pioneering strategies to help improve the lives of people living with bladder cancer and help reduce the gap in funding of high-priority research topics for patients, caregivers, and scientists in Canada.
Each year, almost 12,000 Canadians are affected by bladder cancer.1 Funding innovative grants opens the door for Canadian organizations to advance their understanding of bladder cancer and encourage proposals for the implementation of strategies that will measurably improve the quality of care of patients with advanced bladder cancer.
Together, EMD Serono and Pfizer Canada are delighted to provide funding to the following recipients:
Dr. Jeremy Ho on behalf of Richmond Cancer Clinic : This project aims to implement a digital patient-reported outcome (PRO) platform for English- and Chinese-speaking bladder cancer patients at Richmond Cancer Clinic (RCC) to provide a more comprehensive "Whole Person" evaluation of the patient and allow for better management of symptoms and unrecognized needs. At the RCC, 50% of patients have identified their preferred language to be Chinese, and 80% have limited English proficiency. This quality improvement initiative has the potential to measurably improve the quality of care for people living with bladder cancer, allowing for a more comprehensive evaluation of the patient that includes the psychosocial and cultural aspects of care.
Dr. Safiya Karim on behalf of Alberta Health Services: The goal of this project is to implement a six-month pilot project to develop an Urgent Immune-Related Adverse Event (irAE) Management Clinic at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC) that will allow timely identification and management of irAEs; decrease avoidable visits to the emergency department; improve outcomes of patients on immunotherapy agents; and improve the patient experience. The Urgent irAE Management Clinic will fill an unmet need in Southern Alberta and ultimately support improved patient outcomes and quality of care.
"We want patients to know that their experiences and priorities matter, and we are eager to see the critically important work of the grant recipients come to life and help to improve the lives of people living with bladder cancer," says Michelle Colero, Executive Director, Bladder Cancer Canada. "The advancements these recipients will create for bladder cancer is significant, and we are thrilled this is a program that will continue in following years."
Since forming a global strategic alliance in 2014, the EMD Serono and Pfizer Alliance is committed to raising awareness about bladder cancer and working with the broader cancer community.
"We are incredibly grateful to be selected for this grant," says Dr. Ho, Medical Lead for Oncology, Richmond Hospital. Our team at Richmond Hospital is dedicated to providing exceptional care for people living with bladder cancer and will continue to focus our time and efforts to meet the essential needs of patients."
Grant recipients were determined by an external review committee led by Bladder Cancer Canada with representation from both EMD Serono and Pfizer Canada.
"Our hope with the Urgent irAE Management Clinic is to improve the overall patient experience for those living with bladder cancer, by earlier identification and better management of side effects associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors," says Dr. Karim, Clinical Associate Professor, Alberta Health Services.
About Bladder Cancer Canada
Bladder Cancer Canada is the first and only patient advocacy organization dedicated solely to bladder cancer patients since it was created in 2009. Bladder Cancer Canada's vision is to support bladder cancer patients and their teams, increase awareness of bladder cancer among the general public and medical community as well as fund research which pursue the diagnosis, treatment and elimination of bladder cancer.
About EMD Serono, Canada
EMD Serono is the Canadian biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. EMD Serono has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and devices, and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in neurology, oncology, immunology and immuno-oncology. EMD Serono has more than 100 employees across Canada with headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.
The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark "Merck" internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company's technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.
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, Twitter or YouTube.
For further information:
Corporate Affairs Canada
1. Bladder Cancer Canada. Bladder Cancer Facts - Bladder Cancer Canada. Accessed September 2022.