Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta

There's Only One Cure for Cancer. Research.

The Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through translational science, which brings the latest advancements in cancer research from the laboratory to patients sooner.

Dr. David Eisenstat with patient - Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta

Project Overview

Collaborate. Translate. Accelerate.

Cancer is not just one disease. It's more than 200. Winning the war against this complex enemy requires an arsenal of research discoveries, targeted strategies and a united force of cancer experts.

As the largest comprehensive cancer research institute in Western Canada, the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta (CRINA) brings together expert teams of university scientists, doctors and specialists. Working collaboratively, team members share information, focus on patient needs and translate research discoveries into treatments faster than ever before.

Research priorities

  1. Cancer biology - Basic laboratory research into how tumours develop and grow, and the effects of drugs
  2. Novel cancer therapies and biomarkers - Leading to pre-clinical studies and first-in-human clinical trials
  3. Cancer prevention, lifestyle and survivorship - Reducing the burden of cancer on communities and society

Skating with Gretzky

John Mackey is plugged into cancer research because he knows it will benefit his patients. In fact, the medical oncologist seems electrified when describing the many translational research collaborations he's involved in. "Most of what I do is like skating with Gretzky," Mackey says. "You get a few goals, but success comes because of the talented people you're collaborating with. I work with people who know things that I don't know, and that's really where the sparks fly, and the advances happen. When people approach the same problem from different directions, patients win."

One of those collaborations, with UAlberta cell biologist Luc Berthiaume, is a targeted drug therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphomas that is 300 times more efficient in killing cancer cells than normal cells. "There are 28,000 people diagnosed with aggressive lymphomas each year in North America," Mackey says. "This therapy could become a whole new line of treatment for blood and immune cell cancers like leukemia and lymphoma."

Mackey is also on the front line of patient care, not only as a doctor but also as director of one of the busiest cancer clinical trial units in North America. As a result, he's a fierce advocate for cancer research that links patient outcomes back to the lab. "I'm tired of seeing my patients die," he says. "If we don't understand the biology, our treatment strategies will simply be empirical, like randomly throwing darts at a wall. I see no alternative but to use biology-informed clinical trials to make progress."

The Impact of Your Donations

Nearly every Canadian has been touched by cancer. An estimated 76,600 Canadians will lose their lives to cancer this year - more than 6,400 of them will be Albertans.

By 2030, the number of Albertans diagnosed every year will increase 65 per cent. In one year, new cancer diagnoses cause $3 billion in lost wages.

Unless this trend is reversed, the burden of cancer on Alberta families, the economy and the health-care system will be massive.

How to Help

By supporting CRINA, you help create an innovative ecosystem for breakthroughs. The Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta has already spearheaded translational teams in ovarian, prostate and breast cancer.

With your support, CRINA can continue to strengthen its teams and build new ones that coordinate the research efforts of hundreds of cancer experts at UAlberta and affiliated institutions.

Together, we can find better ways to detect, treat and prevent cancer.

Help Accelerate Discovery

Help to bring the latest advancements in cancer research from the laboratory to patients sooner.


Support the Institute

To find out how you can accelerate the pace of discovery through CRINA, please contact the Office of Advancement.

Telephone: 780-492-7400
Toll-free: 1-888-799-9899

Leave a Legacy

Planning a charitable gift during your lifetime can leave some or all of your estate to the University of Alberta in the future.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving

Phone: 780-492-2129
Toll free: 1-888-799-9899