Our Program

The Problem

Approximately 1 in 2 North Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, improvements in medical care have led to people living longer than ever after receiving a cancer diagnosis. However, many of the treatments that have improved cancer survival also damage and impair the function of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and skeletal muscles (called cardiorespiratory toxicity) which may lead to cardiorespiratory disease. Today, cancer-related cardiorespiratory disease is a major source of chronic morbidity and a leading cause of mortality in select survivor groups – representing a major burden to survivors, the healthcare system, and society. Despite these devastating consequences, highly effective approaches to cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease risk screening, prevention, and treatment in cancer survivors have not been established.

Research Aims

  1. Understanding the mechanisms and time course of cardio-respiratory toxicity and disease development in cancer survivors.
  2. Improving the accuracy of cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease risk prediction and stratification approaches in cancer survivors.
  3. Developing targeted exercise-based strategies to prevent and treat cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease in at-risk and affected groups of cancer survivors.
  4. Implementing our work within clinical and community settings.

Research Objectives

  1. BIOMARKER VALIDATION – Investigating the independent and additive value of cardiorespiratory fitness (measured as VO2peak) as a biomarker for identifying and stratifying cancer survivors according their risk for cardiorespiratory disease development, progression, events, and mortality.
  2. PRECISION PROFILING – Defining phenogroups of survivors on the basis shared risks and mechanisms (i.e., common risk factors, mediators, and time-course) of cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease pathogenesis.
  3. SCREENING & RISK STRATIFICATION – Validating tools for cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease risk screening and stratification to enhance the identification, interpretation, and communication of toxicity/disease-related risks within at-risk and affected phenogroups of cancer survivors.
  4. PRECISION EXERCISE THERAPY – Developing exercise therapy-based, multimodal treatment strategies targeting phenogroup-specific mechanisms of (i) cardiorespiratory fitness impairments and (ii) cardiorespiratory toxicity and disease risk and progression.