Dr. Darcy Marciniuk (MD), professor with the College of Medicine, associate vice-president research, and the CIHR delegate for USask, said the community event was critical for connecting all those who are working to address or are actively battling cancer.
“It’s important when you put people with great, genuine intentions, but different perspectives, in a room,” he said. “Patients are interacting with researchers. CIHR is interacting with the community. Everybody will learn, and everybody will come out of this feeling better fulfilled about what they have to do down the road,” he said.
The CIHR Institute of Cancer Research Community Event took place on Tuesday, July 25 at USask’s Marquis Hall and featured a variety of speakers from USask faculty, including top cancer researchers and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers.
USask is home to a number of renowned cancer researchers and research programs, having made numerous advances in diagnosis and treatment over the years. Marciniuk said being able to gather and hear from colleagues working in the field is one of the best ways to improve.
“Research makes patients better, and in this case, research makes patients with cancer better,” Marciniuk said. “Research is along a whole spectrum, whether it’s in the lab or in the community. And researchers want to be fully informed so they’re best able to target, to undertake work, to address questions and make a difference for a patient.”
CIHR is one of the largest funding bodies providing support to cutting-edge health care research across Canada. Marciniuk said being able to host a CIHR event at USask gives the university an opportunity to directly exhibit the quality of research being conducted with the funding agent’s support.
“We’re always grateful when national funding agencies come to Saskatchewan,” Marciniuk said. “We’re able to learn from them, we’re able to share some of our perspectives. (CIHR) does come with regularity, and every visit is productive and leads to even better and more.”
As a community-based gathering, the CIHR event allowed for a forum to connect researchers with those on the front lines of cancer treatment. Patients, families, and caregivers were invited to the presentation so they could see and hear directly from researchers.
Marciniuk said being able to bridge the gap between the researchers and those on the ground level makes all levels more understanding of each other.
“For me, I deal with patients with bad COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bad emphysema, and some of those patients get lung cancer,” he said. “I think this is an opportunity for me to appreciate, to learn, to become better informed. I think that’s going to make me a better leader at USask, and a better physician caring for my patients.”