Since its introduction, the cost of genome sequencing has plummeted, opening new opportunities in biomedical research. Research organizations worldwide use this data to advance human health, allowing us to learn more about disease and find new diagnostic tools and treatments. In order to realize the full potential of these advances, more than 100 organizations from around the world, including 17 from Canada, have joined together to develop a global alliance to enable responsible sharing of genomic and clinical data.
Cancer is currently diagnosed in almost 13 million people a year worldwide and the disease kills more than 7.6 million people a year. One of the major causes of cancer is tobacco use, which is projected to cause the premature deaths of one billion people worldwide in the 21st Century. Most people who use tobacco begin this use in their teenage years and quickly acquire an addiction which is very difficult to overcome.
Dr. Jared Simpson, who only recently joined the Institute as an OICR Fellow, is already carving-out his place in the Informatics and Bio-computing group. Simpson, who grew up on Vancouver Island, began his studies in computing at the University of British Columbia (UBC). As a university student, Simpson was interested in computer graphics and once graduated, worked as a software engineer in the video game industry for Electronic Arts.
Although the work has just begun for Dr. Janet Dancey and the High Impact Clinical Trials (HICT) Program, they have plenty to celebrate. In collaboration with NCIC Clinical Trials Group and N2 (Network of Networks), OICR has been selected by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) to develop the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (CCCTN) and house its coordinating centre, with Dancey at the helm as Scientific Director.
A standing-room-only audience of more than 150 people attended OICR's June 24 news conference in the MaRS auditorium. Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District welcomed the audience and the speakers, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi, Dr. Tom Hudson, OICR President and Scientific Directory, and Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO of the University Health Network.
Using viruses as the basis for the treatment of cancer has taken another step forward with the recently published research of Drs. David Conrad and John Bell. The pair, based at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa, have made virus-derived particles that attack human blood cancer cells and have cured the disease in animal models with little side effects. These particles could represent a new avenue for the treatment of leukemia. Dr. Bell also serves as Program Director of OICR’s Immuno- and Bio-therapies Program.
Fifty years ago James Till and Ernest McCulloch were the first in the world to demonstrate the existence of stem cells at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) in Toronto. Today, Toronto remains a leading centre for stem cell research worldwide, and continues to attract top researchers from around the world to conduct ground-breaking research in this cutting-edge field.
Researchers in the U.K. have made a discovery that could greatly improve diagnosis of myelodysplasia (MDS), a chronic blood cancer and precursor to leukemia. The study found that a gene called SF3B1 is commonly mutated in patients with a specific form of the disease. The research was conducted at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and is a participating project in the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC). The findings of the team, led by Dr.
Despite years of research, about 2,500 Canadian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 1,700 Canadian women still die from the disease every year. A new pan-Canadian study led by the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) hopes to change this. Using cutting-edge technology, researchers are aiming to better identify the many different subtypes of ovarian cancer. By doing so, they hope to determine what treatments will work best for each different ovarian cancer subtype, ultimately providing more targeted – and more successful – treatments for patients.
Michael Taylor wants to find a novel treatment for the leading cause of death in pediatric cancer in Canada; One that won’t harm the developing brain of his young patients, lead to secondary cancers or prevent them from being able to hold a full-time job when they grow up. In his lab at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Taylor uses experience gained from 15 years of clinical and scientific post-secondary education and 24 years of biomedical research to help in his quest to increase the quality of life and survival of children with brain tumours (medullobastomas).