Supporting translational research and biomarker studies
Ontario has significant advantages to allow it to conduct world-class translational research and take a leadership role in defining trials testing personalized medicine paradigms. Within the province are leading researchers and developers in cancer biology, therapeutics, imaging and “-omic” technologies, world-class clinical trial organizations and infrastructure, and biospecimen repositories that provide competitive advantages. To ensure the success of scientific projects, the HICT Program has invested in enhancing existing core expertise, resources and developing projects that address unmet needs.
The creation of Ontario Network for Translational Research Excellence in Clinical Trials (ON-TRECT), a joint effort of OICR, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Translational Research Network, will foster multidisciplinary collaborations and enhance laboratory and biospecimen facilities to conduct translational research in clinical trials. The Network will
Translational Research Teams will be supported at several centres of excellence throughout Ontario. Multi-disciplinary collaborations within basic laboratory, clinical trial, interventional radiology, pathology, biorepositories and imaging research departments will ensure biomarker and experimental therapeutic testing within clinical trials conducted by OICR and the HICT Program.
The Oncology Research and Methods Training Project, developed in collaboration with the University of Waterloo, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences will meet the challenge caused by a shortage of biostatisticians with the required training in genetics, molecular biology, adaptive clinical trial designs and bioinformatics.
Multidisciplinary, multi-institutional projects addressing novel research questions in line with OICR’s strategic priorities and program and platform strengths have been developed and funded through the HICT Program. These include projects that:
- Characterize circulating tumour cells and evaluate agent effects on circulating tumour cells;
- Develop assays to assess and evaluate agent effects on cancer stem cells;
- Incorporate functional imaging modalities to predict therapeutic activity;
- Develop a platform for real-time targeted patient genotyping through use of large-scale/genome-wide characterization of cancer genes and other genetic markers of susceptibility or resistance to targeted therapies to match patients with specific treatments in order to improve patient and health care outcomes;
- Evaluate a novel clinical trial design to efficiently screen for the anti-tumour activity of two targeted agents in rare tumour settings.