oncology

Improving cancer immunotherapy using G-CSF-blocking antibodies to overcome myeloid cell-mediated immunosuppression

Half of all Canadians will develop cancer and 1 in 4 will die of the disease. Cancer immunotherapy is a promising solution applicable to multiple types of cancer. The immune system plays a critical role in removing tumour cells. However, tumours escape the immune system to continue growing. Immunotherapy can enhance the immune system's ability to fight cancer and, in some cases, achieve long-lasting remission. However, many cancers do not respond to currently available immunotherapies.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2019

The molecular dissection of aggressive B-cell lymphoma

Aggressive B-cell lymphomas are the most common form of lymphoma and ~50% of patients are cured with modern treatments. However, the outcomes for patients whose disease is not cured are dismal with ~10% of those patients alive at 5 years. This shows that these lymphomas, although grouped together on the basis of what they look like down the microscope, represent clusters of different lymphoma groups. A better understanding of the 'molecular wiring'of these lymphomas is critical to identify patients at high risk of resistant lymphoma and providing better treatments.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2019

Predictors of immunotherapy benefit in patients with microsatellite stable metastatic colorectal cancer

Introduction: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer. Once metastatic, patients are generally incurable and receive treatment to prolong survival. Immunotherapies use a patient's immune system to attack their cancer. These treatments are effective in CRC patients with microsatellite instability (MSI). Unfortunately, 95% of patients lack MSI and are called microsatellite stable (MSS). This group usually doesn't respond to immunotherapy and we need to explore why.

Specific Aims:  

We aim to identify:

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2019

Costs and benefits of tumour testing to improve cancer prevention and survival

Women who inherit a BRCA gene mutation are at high risk for breast cancer and the most lethal type of ovarian cancer, high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSC).

A woman diagnosed with HGSC has a 20% chance of unknowingly carrying a BRCA mutation, and is eligible for genetic testing. Getting a blood sample to do genetic testing in this woman is critical, because if she is found to have a BRCA mutation: 1) her relatives (daughters, sisters) can be tested, and HGSC can be PREVENTED in them, and 2) she herself can be treated with PARP inhibitors that can improve survival.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2019

Improving the methods of economic evaluation to support decision-making: CAR-T, uncertainty, and real-world evidence

The emergence of novel technologies in health care is associated with promising opportunities to improve patient health outcomes. Advances in health technologies also come at a substantial cost. New gene therapies have been estimated to cost between $300,000-$4,000,000 per patient. These new therapies offer promise, but do not offer certainty; decision-makers have to choose whether to reimburse the therapy with little evidence for how it might work in the real-world.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Precision medicine to drive prevention and management strategies for women with endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer (EC), or cancer of the uterus, is the most common gynecological cancer in Canada, with new cases and deaths increasing annually, due to an increase in the rate of common risk factors, like obesity. In British Columbia, the number of new EC cases is projected to increase by 50% and mortality to double by 2031. We must investigate economically feasible prevention strategies to control the rate of this cancer.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Custom platform for preoperative planning of complex head and neck reconstruction

Advanced head and neck cancers involving facial bone often require aggressive removal of diseased bone. Reconstruction of the bone is typically done by cutting and reshaping patient donor bone. This process involves is complex, since the accuracy of the reconstruction significantly impacts cosmetic and functional outcomes. Doing this during surgery is challenging, time-consuming and can be improved with better planning before surgery. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2018

Unraveling disparate roles of Notch-1 and Notch-2 signaling in bladder cancer

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer, yet it remains understudied and we are only now making strides in understanding it's molecular make-up. Recently we and others have discovered that loss of the cell surface receptor Notch-1 drives growth of some bladder cancers, while increased Notch-2 activity drives growth of other bladder cancers. Here we aim to determine how Notch-1 and Notch-2 can lead to such differing effects on cancer growth even though they share many features. From this we aim to design a new drug to inhibit Notch-2. 

We will: 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2018

Genomic Organization At Large (GOALS) predicts aggressive biological behaviour in prostate and breast cancers

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer for men in North America. Prostate cancer deaths have been in decline since the mid-1990s after the discovery of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), which, when used for screening, results in a steep increase in the number of early diagnoses. A large percent of these PSA-detected cases do not express clinically, are slow growing, and do not require treatment, and therefore do not contribute significantly to overall mortality. Conversely, some slow growing cancers are very aggressive and result in death. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

DNA-PK inhibitors for use in combination with radiation therapy

Half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy, impacting about seven million people worldwide each year. Enhancing tumour sensitivity to radiotherapy would have a far reaching and significant impact on patients with many kinds of cancer. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

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
Health Category: 

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

Co-targeting Hsp27 and EGFR as a strategy to improve EGFR targeted therapies in EGFR dependent solid tumors

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is a key regulator of cell proliferation and a driver oncogene in several tumors. Many cancers have constitutively activated EGFR which leads to excessive signalling. Inhibition of EGFR using erlotinib or gefitinib significantly improves survival in patients with Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) while panitumumab and cetuximab are currently used in colorectal and head and neck cancer.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2015

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