Dr. Michelle Brazas
The goal of the Adaptive Oncology (AO) Initiative is to develop “adaptive” approaches to cancer management that anticipate how tumours change over the course of time and in response to therapy.
The Initiative, one of OICR’s three key priority research areas, brings together OICR researchers with expertise in genomics, bioinformatics, machine learning, imaging, robotics and histopathology.
What do we mean by ‘Adaptive Oncology’?
Adaptive Oncology (AO), is a term describing a paradigm in which an understanding of the evolutionary history of a patient’s tumour is used to inform clinical management strategies.
Over the past decade, large cancer genome sequencing efforts have catalogued unexpected diversity amongst cancer genomes. Several hundred novel cancer driver genes have been identified, and a broad spectrum of genomic alterations ranging from single base substitutions to whole genome duplications is now implicated in tumour initiation, progression and therapeutic response. Over the same period, research has discovered extensive spatial and temporal heterogeneity in cancer.
We now know that most or all tumours consist of a polyclonal community of genetically distinct cells which evolve over time to adapt to therapy, the immune system and the microenvironment.
OICR’s AO Initiative seeks to develop knowledge and approaches to monitor cancer over its life cycle in order to enable precise and proactive clinical management.
Our research will create the groundwork for new clinical and diagnostic paradigms that use the knowledge of spatial and temporal heterogeneity to select the right therapy at the right time.
In turn, these paradigms will create opportunities for commercialization via knowledge bases of predictive biomarkers, diagnostic testing services, decision software systems and novel imaging instrumentation.
Utilizes datasets from multiple sources for the development and application of algorithms for cancer genome analysis, biomarker discovery, cancer pathway discovery, data integration and tumour evolution research. Learn more about Computational Biology
Initiates, disseminates and nurtures expertise in the development of diagnostic assays and supports the rapid implementation of precision medicine. Learn more about Diagnostic Development
Provides large-scale, next generation sequencing cancer genomics capabilities to researchers in Ontario and beyond. Learn more about Genomics
Develops new software, databases and other necessary components to store, organize and compute over the large and complex datasets being generated by OICR’s cancer research programs. Learn more about Genome Informatics
Accelerates the translation of research findings and developments of new imaging techniques and probes for cancer into clinical practice. Learn more about Imaging
Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
This project aims to provide a method to guide prostate biopsy accurately and efficiently by developing a prostate biopsy-guidance system to be integrated into the prostate-specific PET system and a superior PET imaging tracer.
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Mapping of Heterogeneity in Early Prostate Cancer
This project aims to determine if MRI-guided targeted biopsy, together with the PRONTO molecular signature test can better detect hidden, high-risk prostate cancer cases compared to the current methods. Learn more about this project
This project aims to integrate molecular data with imaging data to aid development of computational tools and predictive models for aiding clinical decision making. Learn more about this project
Global Alliance for Genomics and Health
GA4GH was formed to help accelerate the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health.
Learn more about GA4GH
The ICGC generated comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities in tumours from 50 different cancer types. ICGC AGRO takes the next step in this work by analyzing 100,000 genomes and integrating patient health data to address key clinical and biological questions.
Learn more about ICGC-ARGO
Ontario Tumour Bank
A province-wide biorepository and data bank focused on collection of tumour-related human biospecimens. Learn more about Ontario Tumour Bank
Ontario Molecular Pathology Research Network
A province-wide network of pathologists collaborating to carry out high-quality cancer research with a clear potential for clinical impact. Learn more about Ontario Molecular Pathology Research Network
Ontario Hereditary Cancer Research Network
Ontario Hereditary Cancer Research Network is the first registry of its kind in Canada and will be used to understand the biology, prevention, early detection and treatment of hereditary cancers.