From funding ground-breaking research, to offering patient care services, public education and advocacy, your financial commitment pays dividends beyond what you may imagine. With your contributions, you are impacting the lives of liver patients, their families, caregivers and the work of researchers. Together we are bringing liver research to life. It benefits you, me, and the estimated 1 in 4 people in Canada who may be affected by liver disease.
With your support, the Canadian Liver Foundation was able to invest a total of $2.14 million in life-saving and life-changing liver research. Some of the work is highlighted here.
A $1.2 million research grant, the largest grant in the history of the Foundation in partnership with the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation to treat liver cancer, is helping scientists get one step closer to eliminating liver cancer. Dr. Ian McGilvray, liver transplant, cancer surgeon and Senior Scientist at Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, is leading the initiative. Dr. McGilvray and a multidisciplinary team of investigators will explore how nanoparticles (about 1/8 of the width of a human hair) can target and destroy immune cells that help liver cancer evade detection and grow.
Little is known about PSC-IBD in children, although this population is particularly important because the opportunity for early intervention is great within this group. Led by Dr. Amanda Ricciuto, as part of the fellowship training at The Hospital for Sick Kids Toronto, this study aims to describe the IBD in children with PSC-IBD and to define what symptoms and stool samples can be used to determine the severity of IBD in children with PSC-IBD. This will then be compared to a control group of children with IBD without liver disease.
A liver disease diagnosis can be scary. With your support through donations, the CLF was able to deliver patient services support by providing information, support and guidance to 2,230 people who called our 1-800 Liver Help Line or emailed us. We assisted liver disease patients and their families through our Peer Support Network, a national network that connects people living with liver disease. This year the Foundation was also able to host 5 LIVERight Health forums to share research information, across the county.
Liver cancer is one of the fastest rising of all cancers in Canada. Since 1970 the incidence rate has tripled in Canadian men and doubled in Canadian women. The Canadian Liver Foundation will focus on meeting the increasing demand for information and services in this area as well as the area of fatty liver disease, children’s liver diseases and viral hepatitis. Your donations are critical for us to continue this important work.
Your donations in 2015...
Bringing liver research to life in the lab
Each year with the help of donors like you, the Canadian Liver Foundation is able to support the work of researchers across the country as they study ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure liver diseases of all kinds. Here are a few examples of projects you are funding.
Finding new ways to treat biliary atresia and PSC to avoid liver transplants
Taking a tiny skin sample from a patient, Dr. Binita Kamath and her team at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) are able to use breakthrough technology to create customized stem cells which can in turn be coaxed into becoming virtually any kind of cell. By turning these stem cells into bile duct cells, Dr. Kamath can create a patient–specific model of biliary atresia and other bile duct diseases like PSC in order to better understand how these diseases work and to test possible treatments.
Uncovering what causes PBC and how to treat it
Although we do not yet know what causes primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), Dr. Andrew Mason believes it might be the result of a virus. He and his colleague Dr. Michael Houghton and their team at the University of Alberta are working on developing diagnostic tools to detect viral infection in PBC patients and are studying the effectiveness of antiviral treatment.
Identifying new approaches to treatment of liver cancer
Liver cancer has become one of the fastest rising and deadliest forms of cancer in North America as a result of the increasing prevalence of chronic hepatitis C and fatty liver disease. Dr. Marc Bilodeau at the Université de Montréal, is investigating how fibrosis contributes to the development of liver cancer. By creating a laboratory model he will be able to study the changes that occur in the liver during fibrosis how they may promote the development of liver cancer and resistance to treatment.
Bringing liver research to life for patients and families
A liver disease diagnosis comes as a complete shock to most people as well as to their family and friends. There are many questions about how did this happen, what to expect, how to cope and what type of treatment options might be available.
Thanks to your support, every year we assist thousands of people online, in person and via our 1–800 National Help Line throughout this challenging situation. We answer their questions after diagnosis, help them understand their disease, provide them with the referrals and resources they need to cope.
Through our Peer Support Network, we connect them with others who have gone through the same experience.
Your donations mean the world to so many.
Toward a future of hope
Demand for the CLF’s research funding and services continue to grow as more Canadians are diagnosed with liver disease than ever before. Each year our research grant competition is flooded with applications but we must turn down as many as 75% of applications from senior investigators because we just don’t have enough funds to support them.
Your support is what makes it possible for us to meet the needs for research funding and community outreach.
Your donation in 2014...
This is an exciting time when the pace of discovery in hepatitis and other liver disease is increasing exponentially — your contributions to liver research lead to dramatic breakthroughs.
Remember, Canadians with liver disease benefit from the knowledge and tools that are the products of that research.
In 2014, your donation contributed to funding over $1.7 million in new liver research projects. The Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) awarded eight new research projects in fatty liver disease, liver cancer, viral hepatitis and children’s liver disease. In addition, the CLF has contributed a total of $100,000 to fund liver transplant research as a part of our five year commitment and partnership with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), in support of the Candian National Transplant Research program.
Here are a few examples of the research projects you funded:
Dr. Denis Grant at the University of Toronto is researching whether the removal of a specific enzyme — one that can turn chemicals into cancer-causing agents — can prevent the development of liver cancer caused by the hepatitis C virus.
Dr. Jennifer Estall at the IRCM (Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal) is investigating what goes wrong in the liver in the early stages of fatty liver disease, and how our diet influences these changes. Her research may provide answers to help prevent cancer development in high risk populations.
Under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Mason at the University of Alberta, Zhen Lin’s research is focusing on whether increasing the level of a specific group of microRNAs (small regulatory molecules that act together to prevent the onset of cancer growth) can limit the development of liver cancer.
For more information about the other research projects funded, please visit our website www.liver.ca/researchprojects.
Your donations also support urgently needed patient services, like our 1-800 Liver Health Info line, Living with Liver Disease sessions, and National Peer Support Network. When people are first diagnosed with liver disease, they have a lot of questions about what to expect, how to cope and where to get help. The Canadian Liver Foundation responds to the needs of Canadians affected by liver disease by providing someone to talk with, answering their questions and connecting patients and families who have been through, or are going through, the same experience.
The Canadian Liver Foundation will focus on meeting the increasing demand for information and services in the areas of fatty liver disease, children’s liver diseases and viral hepatitis. Your donations are critical for us to continue this important work.
Thank you for helping us reduce unnecessary suffering and death from liver disease. Together we can gain the knowledge and develop the tools to change the future.