Cancer Stem Cell


A fundamental problem in cancer research is identifying the cell type capable of starting and supporting the tumour. There is increasing evidence that some cells in the tumour, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), are different from the rest of the tumour and are responsible for long-term tumour growth in several types of cancers.

Evidence is strongest in leukemia, although recent studies have identified CSCs in an increasingly longer list of solid tumours. Despite advances in CSC research, these experimental studies have not yet been translated into improved survival outcomes for cancer patients. This presents a major challenge to this emerging field: to provide evidence that knowledge of CSCs will one day be useful in clinical practice.

OICR's Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Program has brought together the highest concentration of CSC researchers in the world to focus on mining CSC biology for potential improved methods of cancer diagnosis and prognosis and the development of more targeted therapies.

Education and training
OICR is dedicated to training the next generation of cancer researchers. Postdoctoral applications to the CSC Program are welcome and can be sent to If you are applying at the graduate level, please be aware that you must first apply to a graduate program at a university associated with one of the program Principal Investigators. For the CSC Program, the first step in the process is to apply to the relevant graduate programs at the University of Toronto or McMaster University in Hamilton.

Here are the links to departments our PIs are associated with:

Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto
Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto
Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University

Cancer Stem Cell Program Fact Sheet

Download the Cancer Stem Cell Program Fact Sheet

Cancer Stem Cell Program Fact Sheet

Lead Principal Investigator

Dr. John Dick
Program Leader, Cancer Stem Cells Program

Contact Information

Ms. Melissa Anders

melissa [dot] andersatuhnresearch [dot] ca