Small Fish In A Big Pond

Around 80 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer survive. This is the story of how the IWK and zebrafish are working to help the other 20 per cent.

Terry Fox PROFYLE is a program that gives another chance to young cancer patients who are out of conventional treatment options. Short for PRecision Oncology For Young peopLE, Terry Fox PROFYLE brings together more than 30 of Canada’s leaders in pediatric cancer research and care. These researchers work together to better diagnose and treat high-risk cancers, so that young patients can live longer, higher-quality lives.

Where there's a gill, there's a way

The IWK is a proud member of PROFYLE. One of the ways it participates in the program is by providing vital research through Dr. Jason Berman’s zebrafish lab.

It’s hard to believe, but zebrafish are used to investigate human cancers because many of the cancer-causing genes and cancer cell types that occur in humans can be mimicked in these tiny little fish. They also process drugs in the same way we do. Because of these similarities, the Berman lab team can model human cancers in zebrafish and add drugs to the water to monitor how they work and any potential side effects.

PROFYLE in action

One patient who participated in PROFYLE was Jeremy Ingham, from Wolfville, NS.

Jeremy was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive bone cancer in 2013 when he was 17 years old. Through surgery and chemotherapy, he was able to manage his diagnosis. In June 2016, his cancer returned and Jeremy had a second surgery and radiation treatment. When the cancer came back for a third time in 2017, Jeremy was told it was inoperable and he had no further treatment options.

Through his participation in PROFYLE, Jeremy’s care team was able to identify an unrecognized mutation in his tumour that led to treatment with a specifically targeted drug. This provided hope and a new opportunity for Jeremy, though in the end, his cancer continued to grow. Jeremy passed away on December 29, 2017.

Leaving a Legacy

Motivated by his personal experience, Jeremy was interested in finding a cure for cancer. It was his dream to become a researcher. When Jeremy received his final diagnosis, he found another way to let his dream live on.

On November 29, 2017 Jeremy made a personal gift to the IWK Foundation to establish the Jeremy Ingham Cancer Research Trust.

Through this amazing gift and the support of his family and friends, Jeremy was able to create a research award that will help generations of students continue the work he was so passionate about. Together, these recipients will fulfill Jeremy’s dream of improving the outcome for cancer patients



Return to 2017/2018 Annual Report:


IWK Health Centre Charitable Foundation Charitable Number: 867558090RR0001