Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont: New treatment brings hope for rare cancer patients

A new experimental treatment developed by the Hematology-Oncology and Cellular Therapy University Institute at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont offers hope to patients with a rare and incurable cancer.

Cellular therapy: The medicine of the future in action

The new experimental cell therapy could, in the future, treat synovial sarcoma. This is a rare cancer that usually occurs in adults, but also affects adolescents and children in 30% of cases. This stem cell treatment represents a historic step forward in the fight against cancer in Quebec and Canada.

The Institute of Hemato-Oncology and Cellular Therapy (iHOCT) has, for the first time, succeeded in genetically modifying a patient’s T-cells – the white blood cells responsible for defending our body against infection –, to enable the treatment of a “solid” cancer1, providing an optimal solution for physicians.

Reprogramming the history of patients

This experimental approach consists of reprogramming a patient’s immune cells to specifically combat this cancer. It is one of the few promising advances for this rare type of cancer, which accounts for approximately 1% of all adult cancer cases.

This type of personalized medicine represents a glimmer of hope for those patients and their families for whom chemotherapy, which is often toxic, produces few results.

˃ All about Reprogram history Campaign

Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, a pole of excellence

This announcement clearly demonstrates that the iHOTC at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont is a world leader in cell therapy treatment development and research. This medicine of the future holds great promise for treating rare cancers, blood cancers and other diseases currently incurable.

The work conducted at the Institute of Hemato-oncology and Cellular Therapy (iHOTC) proves that stem cell treatments can save lives. It shows that the medicine of the future is afoot and in use right here in Montreal. Our marvelous donors can be proud of their contribution to this achievement through their commitment and generosity over the years.Pierre Nelis, Chairman of the Board, HMR Foundation

The clinical study was conducted by the iHOTC of Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Noujaim, hemato-oncologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal.

A shared accomplishment

HMR Foundation donors contributed greatly, through their donations, to the establishment of the research center, which became an Institute in October 2019. Today’s successes and achievements are the result of decades of work and investment, of recruiting the best experts in the field and the unswerving financial support of the HMR Foundation and its donors.

In 2019 alone, the Foundation remitted $12 million to the Hospital and close to a total $100 million since 2008. Thank you to all for your generosity and solidarity.

Foundation donors deserve full recognition for this accomplishment!


1 “Solid” cancers (carcinomas or sarcomas) are distinguished from “liquid” or blood cancers (leukemias and lymphomas).

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