What’s CRINA? How does it fit into our big pink picture?

CRINA is an acronym for “Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta”.  This is an interesting group.  It isn’t “a group of researchers peering through microscopes at The Cross”.  Rather, it is “a group of researchers from all across the U of A campus taking a hard look at all aspects of cancer”. It’s researchers in oncology, yes, but also in agriculture and mathmatics and pharmacy and phys ed.  Why agriculture?  Because of nutrition’s effect on how cancer cells will respond to a particular treatment.  Why mathmatics?  Because of the mathmatical and statistical modeling needed to understand cancer data.  Pharmacy is a no brainer … but phys ed?  Physical condition can make a big difference in so many ways … in ways that the CRINA phys ed cancer researchers are still discovering. I’m sure I’m missing a number of departments that are involved, but you get the picture.

They are attacking cancer from all angles! Whenever someone has a “light bulb moment”, off they go investigating. Sometimes it pays off in spades (like BRCA 1 and 2).  Sometimes it doesn’t.  But even a “doesn’t” is a win because it’s an avenue that can then be ignored.

They say it takes from $20,000 to $50,000 to investigate a “light bulb”.  If the light bulb is worth investigating further, it’s half a million bucks to go into pre-clinical trials.  If the pre-clinical trials are fruitful, we’re talking a million dollars (or more) to do human trials!

And there’s the rub.  It’s not all that difficult for researchers to find the funding needed for those big events that make headlines … but those don’t happen until a whole bunch of little “light bulb moments” have been investigated, and it’s hard to find funding for those.  The problem is: they’re not sexy.  But oh, are they critical!  Without them there would be no big events.

So that’s where we come in.  Our money will be used to fund as many CRINA light bulb moments as possible.

Think of it as funding Wayne Gretzky for his first pair of hockey skates … or Leonard Cohen for his first guitar.  🙂

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