The Diagnostic Development Program looks for new and more personalized ways to diagnose and treat cancer. We work with doctors and scientists across Ontario and around the world to improve people’s experiences with cancer.
When it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer, one size does not fit all. The current treatment options for many cancers only work for a limited number of patients, and it is sometimes unclear who will benefit from a certain treatment and who won’t. We are trying to understand why these differences exist so we can create more personalized cancer care that is tailored to a specific person and the biology of their tumour.
We use an approach called “omics”, which looks at many different molecular features of a person. For example, genomics looks at a person’s DNA and RNA. Proteomics looks at the proteins a person produces from their DNA and RNA templates. Data from each of these, when compared in larger studies, can help find the best course of treatment for a person. We look for clues in this data, known as ‘markers’, that can add to and improve decisions about a cancer patient’s treatment . We are also looking at new ways to collect omics data from samples of blood, urine and tumours, which are less invasive than taking tissue samples.
The Diagnostic Development Program is charged with the mission to initiate, disseminate and nurture expertise in the development of diagnostic assays and support its rapid implementation of precision medicine through personalized diagnosis and treatment. A key component of our mission is to extend support and expertise to the cancer research community through an active collaborative approach across Ontario and beyond.
The Diagnostic Development program’s objectives are to:
- Accelerate the development of discoveries into diagnostic assays;
- Increase access to technologies and expertise for tissue-based cancer research and for diagnostic development;
- Actively engage with a network of clinical, academic and commercial partners;
- Train the next generation of molecular pathologists and clinician scientists.
OICR is committed to strengthening cancer research in Ontario through collaboration and broadening access to our technology infrastructure, expertise and resources. Please visit OICR’s Collaborative Research Resources directory for more opportunities to collaborate.
Collaborations on tissue-based research can benefit from the technology platforms currently available at Diagnostic Development.
The Diagnostic Development Program provides access to a dedicated laboratory suite for molecular biology and histopathology equipped with state-of-the-art instruments that include but are not limited to:
- NanoString nCounter;
- Roche Benchmark XT;
- Zeiss Laser Capture Microscope;
- BioView Imaging and Analysis automation;
- NanoDrop One UV-Vis Spectrophotometer;
- Beecher Tissue Micro-arrayer for TMA Construction;
- Aperio AT2 Whole Slide Scanner;
- Tissue Studio (Definiens);
- Leica Bond, microtome, embedding machine;
- Leica CM1850 Cryostat;
- Leica DM6000;
- LifeTech Veriti Thermocycler.
The Diagnostic Development Program is focused on the development and validation of objective clinical assays to improve therapeutic selection for early cancers. Alongside the program’s core research deliverables, we support or have supported research in breast, prostate, ovarian, bladder and pancreatic cancers, amongst others. The program has over 100 publications with more than 150 collaborators and multiple presentations at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposia (2012-2016).
OICR enables research by providing expertise, advice and access to research services on a cost-recovery basis. Researchers can benefit from high-end technology infrastructure, world-leading research knowledge, high-quality services and support at each stage of the project development process.
Diagnostic Development program focuses on tissue-based analysis with expertise with human samples in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) and a breadth of associated technologies for complex genome analysis, nucleic acid and protein extraction, tissue microarray construction, NanoString technologies, automated immunohistochemistry and quantitative molecular pathology analysis.
- DNA extraction (FFPE or frozen tissue).
- RNA extraction (FFPE or frozen tissue).
- Dual DNA and RNA extraction (FFPE and frozen tissue).
- Histology – Tissue sectioning (FFPE and frozen tissue).
- Histology – Laser capture microdissection.
- Histology – routine H&E stain.
- Low-density tissue microarray construction (50-100 cores).
- High-density tissue microarray construction (200 cores).
- Multiplex qPCR (FFPE compatible).
- Library preparation for targeted sequencing (FFPE compatible).
- FISH (FFPE compatible).
- Quantitative FISH analysis.
- Multiplex CNV analysis (e.g., Multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification -MLPA).
- NanoString-based technologies.
- Automated immunohistochemistry (whole sections and TMA).
- Single or multiple labeling (Chromagenic and FITC).
- Antibody optimization and validation.
- Automated quantitative IHC image analysis.
- Slide scanning and archiving.
To learn how Diagnostic Development can help further your project please contact the team at email@example.com.