Cancer

Targeting stress granules: A novel strategy to inhibit Ewing sarcoma metastasis

Metastatic disease remains the single most powerful predictor of adverse outcomes in Ewing sarcoma (ES) and other childhood sarcomas (malignant connective tissue tumours). High risk ES appears to be characterized by uninhibited outgrowth of neoplastic clones that have acquired additional genomic or epigenomic alterations, which facilitate the spread of the cancer cells. 

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2017
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Targeting neural transcription factor BRN2 in neuroendocrine tumours

One in eight men in Canada will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Despite the availability of surgical, radiological and drug treatment options, many patients develop castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), an incurable disease which is especially resistant to drugs. In its most lethal form, drug resistant CRPC behaves like a neuroendocrine cancer, which is completely unresponsive to traditional prostate cancer therapies. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017
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Studying genetic mechanisms of treatment resistance in non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Dr. Morin's research program will develop and apply laboratory and computational genomic methodologies that use DNA sequencing and other sensitive platforms to study the drivers of tumour onset, progression and treatment resistance in solid cancers in order to understand the somatic drivers of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs). Using massively parallel (next-generation) DNA and RNA sequencing, Dr. Morin will be able to identify somatic alterations and gene expression signatures in tumour tissue and liquid biopsies (circulating tumour DNA).

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017
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Canada-wide comparison of patient reported outcomes by complexity of radiotherapy technique for bone metastases

Radiotherapy (RT) is a common and cost effective treatment for patients with painful bone metastases (BoM). Complex and lengthy RT courses are increasingly used for BoM, despite substantial evidence and Choosing Wisely Canada guidelines recommending the use of single fraction RT (SFRT) over lengthy courses. Reluctance to adopt SFRT is based on lack of evidence of its effectiveness in patients ineligible for trials, such as those with poor performance status and BoM complicated by fracture or neurological compromise.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017
Health Category: 

Towards individualized treatment for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)

Pancreatic cancer kills almost 5,000 Canadians each year and if progress is not made to improve outcomes, the annual number of deaths will double by 2030. In 80% of patients, the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis, and is not operable. Most of these patients die within one year due to the lack of effective therapies and the fact that clinicians have no clear guidance on which existing treatment option would work best for individual patients.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Integrating clinical, functional and chemical genomics to understand lung cancer biology

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Contributing factors include the late stage of disease at the time of diagnosis and a scarcity of effective therapeutic strategies to treat advanced tumors. However, as our knowledge of lung cancer biology is increasing, targeted therapies have been developed to combat this devastating disease. These therapies target mutated components of key cellular pathways on which tumors have become dependent on for survival, yielding drastic initial response rates without the major side effects of traditional chemotherapies.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2014
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Co-registered optical coherence tomography and autofluorescence imaging

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death with more than 1.3 million mortalities annually. Autofluorescence (AF) bronchoscopy is an established clinical technique that has proven to be extremely effective for early detection and staging of cancer by identifying high-risk areas where biopsies should be collected.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2013
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Dosage CIN genes: A comprehensive analysis of gene dosage effects on genome stability

Chemotherapy is one of our strongest weapons for treating cancer, but it also harms healthy cells and causes serious side effects in patients. Researchers at the Hieter Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver hope to develop a more targeted approach, one that takes advantage of the genetic changes that exists in cancer. Their approach identifies which combination of genetic changes will selectively kill cancer cells. Answering that question will be key to developing new targeted drugs to fight cancer.   

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2013
Health Category: 

Targeting androgen receptor dimerization as a potential therapy for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death in men. Treatment involves reducing production of di-hydro-testosterone (DHT) or blocking the interaction of this hormone with the androgen receptor (AR), a transcription factor responsible to drive expression of genes responsible for tumour growth. This treatment is unfortunately temporary and tumours eventually undergo genetic changes to become castration-resistant and able to grow in the absence of DHT.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2013
Health Category: 

Beyond the known genome: long non-coding RNAs as novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for metastatic prostate cancer

Recent evidence indicates that non-coding RNAs (NC-RNAs) play crucial functions in physiological and pathological cellular processes. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are the most abundant NC-RNA class, accounting for 10–20,000 genes. Despite this, the role of only a few of them (approxim. 40) has been characterized. Many lncRNAs show a tissue-specific expression pattern and are altered in cancer cells. For this reason, it has been suggested that they may be useful as biomarkers in oncology.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2013
Health Category: 

Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and gene-environment interactions in cancer

Dr. Boyle’s research will investigate the role that physical activity and sedentary behaviour play in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and breast cancer.

This project aims to: 1) examine the associations between physical activity and sedentary behaviour and the risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and 2) investigate whether the effects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on the risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer are modified by particular genes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2013
Health Category: 

New chemical tools to diagnose and treat disease

Medical advances have played a fundamental role in dramatically increasing life expectancy in Canada and around the world. This has created challenges for the health-care system as a number of diseases exhibit increased incidence with age. Two examples include Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer; cancer is now the leading cause of death in Canada. Continued research into the causes and progression of the disease is sure to provide advances in our ability to treat and eventually prevent the disease, with great benefit to our society and economy. The overall goal of Dr.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2012

Adaptive stress response signaling driving treatment resistance and metastasis in cancer

Cancer deaths are driven by two key biological processes: metastasis and treatment resistance. Although these processes are extensively studied as unrelated occurrences, evidence of shared signaling networks suggests common genetic or adaptive events. These pathways will change a therapy-responsive tumour to a resistant and lethal tumour. This occurs in prostate cancer where strategies used to kill tumours induce adaptive responses promoting the emergence of treatment-resistant tumours prone to metastasize.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2012
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Understanding tumor microenvironment interactions in lymphoid cancers: Translation into improved treatment outcome prediction and development of personalized therapies

Malignant lymphomas are the fifth most frequent cancer in humans, affecting patients of all ages. Despite generally effective treatments, a significant number of patients still die from the progressive disease. Interactions of the malignant cells with cells of the tumor microenvironment are increasingly recognized to play a pivotal role in the development of many lymphoma subtypes. However, the clinical potential of an improved understanding of microenvironment-related biology remains largely untapped.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 

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