Sector Highlight:


We all know someone whose life has been affected by cancer. In a place like Halifax (and Nova Scotia overall), people are particularly neighbourly, friendly, and close. With social circles as wide as ours, no wonder the effort against cancer is being fought so fiercely.

Halifax is adding substantial muscle to the fight against cancer.

Almost 10 million people around the world die from cancer every year. And about 6,000 Nova Scotians are diagnosed with cancer each year—a rate of diagnosis that’s higher than anywhere else in North America. So, as much as it’s a global goal to find solutions to cancer, it’s a particularly urgent project here in Halifax.

One such project is the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health Study, or Atlantic PATH—part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health. This national study is investigating how genetics, the environment, lifestyle, and behaviour contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer. Here in Halifax, our focus is helping to find new ways of preventing diseases like cancer and to diagnose them earlier. And Atlantic PATH is just one-way researchers in Halifax are helping to make a difference.

Halifax is behind countless cancer breakthroughs.

Given our province’s unusually and unfortunately high rates of cancer diagnosis, we put an unusually high amount of effort into the problem. And our efforts pay off:

  • Halifax neurosurgeons removed a glioblastoma from a patient's brain guided by a drug called 5-ALA and a fluorescent light—the first time it’s been used in brain surgery in Nova Scotia.
  • 104 clinical trials are underway in Nova Scotia right now.
  • Dalhousie University researchers made a significant cancer research discovery—the capability of reovirus to infect and kill cancer cells.
  • Adaptiiv Medical Technologies combined its software platform and 3D printing to design and create patient-specific radiotherapy (RT) accessories.
  • IMV Inc. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company is pioneering a novel class of immunotherapies that have been shown to be active and well-tolerated in patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
  • IMV Inc. and The Wistar Institute are partnering to develop a targeted T cell therapy against the common BRAF cancer mutation.
  • A Halifax grade 10 student, Om Agarwal, has developed software that can detect whether a tumour is benign or malignant.
  • Immunovaccine Inc. achieved a breakthrough in support of developing personalized cancer immunotherapies by formulating 14 neoepitope cancer peptides into one single DepoVax formulation.
  • Original software by Densitas is confirmed by research to be accurate in the prediction of breast cancer risk.

We very intentionally nurture the next generation of cancer researchers.

In Halifax, Dalhousie University’s Department of Medicine offers a two-year residency training program in the Division of Medical Oncology. With the goal of training excellence in cancer management, students both gain clinical experience and participate in oncology grand rounds. The Division of Medical Oncology also offers collaborative and multidisciplinary research programs that give students the opportunity to work side by side with internationally-known clinical scientists.

Halifax is home to cancer institutes that collaborate on a shared goal.

Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute
Dedicated to research excellence, the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute promotes gaining and sharing knowledge about cancer that will save lives and ease the burden of cancer on individuals, families, and society.

Atlantic Clinical Cancer Research Unit (ACCRU)
The ACCRU, at the QEII hospital, coordinates 25 to 35 trials at any one time across all cancer specialties—medical, radiation and surgical. Treatments that come through these clinical trials are built on previous data to make sure the medicines are safe and potentially effective.

The Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation of Nova Scotia
This non-government organization in Halifax is dedicated to advancements in the treatment and research of cancer.

Contact Discover Halifax to learn more!

Ready to learn more, or to start planning your event in Halifax?  Contact our sector expert today.

Paul Bailey (he/him)
Sales & Marketing Director - Group Sales (Life Sciences)
Phone: 1.902.334.1846 (Atlantic Time Zone)
Office/Mail: 1809 Barrington Street, Suite 1004, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3K8