Local Ride for Dad grants $30,000 to prostate cancer research at Queen’s

From left to right: Peter Frey, Dave Buttle, Angelic Perry, Mike O’Donnell, Lindin Perry, Asher, Marion Perry, Dr. Katrina Gee, Dr. Sebastien Talbot, Dr. Steven Smith, Lindin Perry Jr., Dr. John Leverette. Photo via UHKF.

The Kingston/Quinte Motorcycle Ride for Dad is giving two Queen’s University researchers $30,000 each to support their work in the fight against prostate cancer. On Monday, Jun. 26, 2023, it was announced where the funds from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Ride for Dad events would be granted (the funds from this year’s event will be granted in 2024).

The local Motorcycle Ride for Dad was established in 2004 and has since raised over $1.6 million for the fight against prostate cancer in the region, according to a release from the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF). Over $650,000 of those funds have been granted to researchers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) to provide seed funding for new and innovative research projects that have the potential to make a difference in the fight against prostate cancer.

“I think we have a phenomenal team,” said Dr. Steven Smith, Vice-Dean Research for the Faculty of Health Sciences. “The research they’re doing will make an impact. And I think that should not get lost: any little information that comes out of the research drives the innovation and changes to their clinical diagnoses and therapies. This team is going to keep driving that change, and we’re incredibly grateful to the team completing the research.”

Monday’s announcement confirmed that Dr. Katrina Gee and Dr. Sebastien Talbot will each be receiving a $30,000 grant to further their research projects.

“One of the things I do is look to see how we can awaken prostate cancer cells so that they can be recognized by killer cells in our immune system,” explained Gee, a professor and researcher with Queen’s University. “This helps people with advanced prostate cancer, because those cancers are quiet, hiding out in our bodies, and they can’t be seen by the immune system.”

“Like Katrina, my work specializes in trying to increase immune cells to recognize cancer cells and fight them better,” stated Talbot, an associate professor with Queen’s University. “We found that there is some neuron that actually grows inside the cancer, and we think that those neurons actively communicate with the immune cells and shut down their function. So we’re developing new ways to block these neurons in the hope that the immune system will be better able to fight the cancer.”

Knowing this funding is being put to good use is music to the ears of cancer survivors Dave Buttle and Peter Frey, who were both on hand at the funding announcement.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was sitting in a pub with five of my friends,” said Buttle, a survivor of prostate cancer for six years now. “I found out that they had all been tested for prostate cancer; two of them were also diagnosed with prostate cancer. And like myself, they’re still alive today. So please, go get checked out.”

Learn more about the Kingston/Quinte Motorcycle Ride for Dad on their website.

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