Research aims to improve prostate cancer treatment

Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) are cancer cells that leave a tumour, enter the blood stream and invade other parts of the body. In a new study funded by the TELUS Ride for Dad London and Grey Bruce, Lawson Health Research Institute’s Dr. Alison Allan will test whether the analysis of CTCs can predict which prostate cancer treatments will be most effective for individual patients. A cheque presentation for this project was held on Monday, July 17 at the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre’s Victoria Hospital.

Dr. Allan, a Lawson scientist in the London Regional Cancer Program, is a national leader in the study of CTCs. Dr. Allan’s lab has developed unique blood tests to track metastasis – the spread of cancer from the original tumour to other sites in the body – by measuring the number of CTCs in a patient’s blood stream. As a result, LHSC now offers these blood tests for prostate, breast and colorectal cancers.

Learn more about Dr. Allan’s work with circulating tumour cells:


The funding from the TELUS Ride for Dad London and Grey Bruce will help Dr. Allan expand her research on CTCs.

“With this generous funding, we will use an emerging technology to determine whether CTC analysis can be used to indicate which patients will respond to chemotherapy versus other targeted therapies,” says Dr. Allan, also an Associate Professor of Oncology and Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. “This could lead to more effective and personalized management of prostate cancer with improved patient outcomes.”

The TELUS Ride for Dad has two local chapters, one for London and one for Grey Bruce. The annual rides took place on Sunday, May 28, 2017 in London and Saturday, August 12, 2017 in Owen Sound.

“The TELUS Ride for Dad fights prostate cancer through research and education. It is important for the volunteers and the riders who collect pledges to see the results of their hard work on a local basis,” says John Patrick, Chair for the TELUS Ride for Dad London. “London has excellent hospitals and numerous researchers who do their work in London. We believe that by keeping research and education funds local we will reach more men and their families in the fight against prostate cancer.”