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How your generosity has helped 

Discovering a cure for glioblastoma continues to be a long journey, but thanks to your generosity we have funding projects that are focused on improve the quality and duration of those diagnosed and, one day, will find a cure for this terrible disease.


To ensure Dunn With Cancer is making the largest impact, 100% of funds donated to the Dunn With Cancer Research Fund goes towards glioblastoma research. 

Funded Grants

Muhammadvaseem Shaikh - Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

“Allogeneic, “off-the shelf” CD133 CAR-T immunotherapy for Glioblastoma”

What this project is focused on

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor. Despite an aggressive therapy regimen, almost all patients relapse 7-9 months post-diagnosis. Therapy failure and poor patient outcome may be attributed to a small population of cells known as glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs), that escape therapy and seed disease recurrence. GSCs are most notably identified by the cell surface protein CD133, which has previously been shown to associate with pro-tumor properties including treatment resistance, tumor growth, maintenance, progression and metastasis.

Previously in the Singh Lab, we developed an engineered T-cell therapy, known as a CAR-T, that is capable of recognizing CD133 to induce tumour cell death. While this showed success in our animal models of human GBM, other considerations must be addressed on its path to clinical development. As of current, CAR-T therapies are generated from T-cells taken from cancer patients. This hosts a myriad of concerns including the quality of patient T-cells, the time and cost to manufacture, and its availability for patients with rapidly progressing disease. Hence, to circumvent this issue, we aim to develop and test the donor-derived CAR-T cells which are genetically engineered for safe usage in GBM patients as a readily available, “off-the-shelf” therapy.

Xian Wang – Postdoctorial Research Fellow at the Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto

"Targeted mechanical ablation of Glioblastoma using spationtemporally controlled magnetic carbon nanotubes"


What this project is focused on

I propose an out-of-the-box approach, to physically destroy cancer cells using high precision magnetic control and biocompatible magnetic carbon nanotubes (mCNTs). I hypothesize that magnetic mobilization of functionalized magnetic carbon nanotubes mCNT is an effective targeted approach for treating glioblastoma resistant to current treatments.


The aims of this project include adding antibody on the mCNT surface for targeting tumour cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed, and establishing treatment efficacy in treatment resistant tumour. My project will expand the treatment options available for this insidious and lethal disease.


I am really grateful to the Dunn family and friends, and Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for making this possible. Together, we will work towards the same mission, making brain tumour treatable and eventually curable.

Phedias Diamandis – University Health Network/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

“Development of deep learning approaches for deciphering and targeting intra-tumoural heterogeneity in Glioblastoma”


What this project is focused on

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer with an expected survival of only ~12-15 months from diagnosis despite spirited surgical/medical therapy. This poor outlook has remained fairly unchanged over the past half century despite many breakthroughs in our understanding of glioblastoma biology.

One recent explanation for these previous failures is that while we often think of a patient’s tumour being a homogenous mass of identical cancer cells, there are in fact a number of tumour sub-clones within each glioblastoma that respond differently to therapy. This means that existing treatments may not equally target all tumour cells and allow resistant subclones to survive and drive disease recurrence/progression.

Approaches that can help the routine characterization and personalized management of these tumour subpopulations, could provide an effective means of better controlling glioblastoma. To address this, Dr. Diamandis’ Lab plans to harness expertise in artificial intelligence to explore if this technology can help automate detection of biologically distinct tumour subregions.

Routine detection and characterization of tumour subclones, within each individual patients’ tumour, could help propose personalized and effective drug combinations that together target a larger fraction of the overall tumour biology. This could ultimately provide more durable responses for patients.

David Fortin – Universite de Sherbrooke

"Radioisotope Embedded in GlioTrap for Glioblastoma Treatment"


What this project is focused on

One of the major difficulties in treating Glioblastoma is the impossibility to remove all the tumour cells with surgery. Indeed, some tumour cells break away from the tumour nodule and invade the surrounding brain provoking recurrence.

Hence, to eliminate these tumour cells, we have developed a device that can be implanted in the tumour cavity following tumour removal. In a global project coined GlioTrap, we have designed a biocompatible gel to deliver molecules that can attract tumour cells. This gel also releases slowly antitumour drugs.

This has already been tested in an animal model. To increase the anti-tumoural effect of the device, we also want to embed a short-range radioisotope into the gel. This proposal specifically regards this aspect.

When completed, GlioTrap will: 1- chemoattract the migrating tumour cells to regroup them close to the tumour cavity; 2- gradually release high-doses of antitumoral drug locally; 3- deliver a high dose of radiation in a short range to the tumour cells. The regional effect of GlioTrap will allow to have an optimal tumour control at relapse as well as a minimal side effects.

Andrew Beharry – University of Toronto

"Predicting Temozolomide Resistance in Glioblastoma using an Activity­ based Fluorescent chemosensor for MGMT"

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What this project is focused on

Our project aims to assist clinicians in providing the most effective medication with the least possible side effects.


For glioblastoma patients, treatment usually consists of surgery, radiotherapy, then chemotherapy, specifically the drug temozolomide (TMZ). It has been proven that patients with high levels of the DNA repair protein MGMT have a poorer response to TMZ therapy.


Our project describes the development and application of a small molecule fluorescent chemosensor that directly monitors the activity of MGMT.


Our vision is to use this sensor on biopsied tissue samples for glioblastoma patients and predict the patient's response to TMZ-based therapy. So that clinicians around the world can routinely and accurately assess the MGMT status in glioblastoma patients to help govern their decision-making in chemotherapy treatments.

Melanie Keats – Dalhousie University

“How people with Glioblastoma view physical activity throughout their palliative journey: A realist study”

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What this project is focused on

Glioblastoma (a fast-growing brain cancer) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. As a devastating diagnosis with a high mortality rate and rapid loss of function and independence, it is imperative to consider factors such as symptom management, maintaining independence and preserving or improving quality of life for the duration of the patients’ life. While the benefits of physical activity/exercise for cancer patients and survivors are well documented, many individuals living with Glioblastoma may not feel as though they are capable of engaging in physical activity/exercise or given their disease status that there may not be any benefit from being physically active.


Funding from DUNN with Cancer through Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada will allow us to advance our understanding of how individuals living with Glioblastoma view physical activity/exercise as a means to enhance their overall quality of life. Doing so will allow us to develop targeted interventions designed to meet the unique needs of Glioblastoma patients and survivors.

Silvia Penuela – Western University

“Inhibition of Panx1 as a novel target for Glioblastoma Multiforme”

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What this project is focused on

We are very thankful for this grant from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This funding allows us to study a new target for Glioblastoma Multiforme treatments testing new drugs that block cell communication in brain tumour cells, that we hope will generate new alternatives for patients. This feature seed grant has a tremendous impact in keeping our research program active, providing the supplies in our laboratory, and helping us support the trainees and staff scientists that do this important research.

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