January 18, 2017

Interested in bioinformatics? Come to TorBUG on January 25

Torbug - Lecture illustration

The Toronto Bioinformatics User Group (TorBUG) will hold its first session of the New Year on January 25. Anyone with an interest in bioinformatics is encouraged to attend and hear from Katie Pollard, Director and Senior Investigator at Gladstone Institutes and Davide Chicco from the University of Toronto.

Event details

January 25, 2017

4-4:15 p.m. Trainee Speaker: Davide Chicco, University of Toronto: “Siamese neural network for prediction of long-range interactions in chromatin”

4:15-5 p.m. Guest Speaker: Katie Pollard, Gladstone Institutes: “Most transcription factors recognize DNA shape”

5-7 p.m. Reception

Location: 160 College St., Toronto, Red Room, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto

A calendar of upcoming TorBUG events can be found at: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed src=q298n32s05bs5l3160afh302hk@group.calendar.google.com

Missed a session? Videos of the latest TorBUG talks are below.

January 17, 2017

First follow-up questionnaire to strengthen Ontario Health Study data

Illustration of four arms holding up surveys

For scientists working to understand diseases and develop new treatments, access to data is key. Ontario Health Study (OHS) participants have already provided the Study with a wealth of information about their health and lifestyle through the OHS online survey, and in some cases, blood samples and physical measures. Researchers can use this information to uncover the causes of various chronic diseases and to inform further research. Now, OHS participants are being given an opportunity to further help researchers by completing a follow-up questionnaire.

Continue reading – First follow-up questionnaire to strengthen Ontario Health Study data

January 13, 2017

Homegrown research team sequences genome of iconic Canadian animal – the beaver

Science show and tell

This content was contributed by our partners at SickKids.

They were diligent, methodical, meticulous. They overcame obstacles large and small and applied available resources to try to achieve an ambitious goal. When they needed to move beyond existing resources, they pushed the limits and modified them. Channelling some of the most distinctive traits of the quintessentially Canadian symbol they were studying, a team of Canadian scientists has made an indelible mark on the history of this country – and beyond – just in time to kick off the country’s 150th anniversary.

Continue reading – Homegrown research team sequences genome of iconic Canadian animal – the beaver

January 13, 2017

Decoding the beaver genome

Jared Simpson

What does a beaver’s genome look like? And how can understanding the beaver genome help us to improve human health? A group of Canadian researchers led by Drs. Stephen Scherer and Si Lok at The Centre for Applied Genomics and The Hospital for Sick Children today published the sequenced genome of the Canadian beaver in order to answer these questions and others (and just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary, no less).

Dr. Jared Simpson led a team at OICR who provided their bioinformatics expertise on the project. We spoke to Simpson about his team’s role in the study and how their findings could contribute to a better understanding of cancer.

Continue reading – Decoding the beaver genome

January 10, 2017

Partnership to expand genomic data sharing in Europe

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health’s (GA4GH) Beacon Project has partnered with ELIXIR, the body that organizes Europe’s infrastructure for life science data, to make genomic data in that continent more easily discoverable by researchers. The Beacon Project is a demonstration project that enables genomic data centres to make their data more easily discoverable to users by allowing them to use simple queries to explore a dataset’s contents.

Continue reading – Partnership to expand genomic data sharing in Europe

January 10, 2017

New prognostic test for prostate cancer now closer to clinical use

Dr. Emilie Lalonde

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men, but there is still no one-size-fits-all strategy for treating the disease. Currently it is difficult to choose exactly the right type and amount of treatment for each individual because it is hard to accurately assess how aggressive the cancer is. Researchers are now a step closer to bringing a powerful new prognostic tool into clinical use.

Continue reading – New prognostic test for prostate cancer now closer to clinical use

January 9, 2017

Pan-Canadian research team uncovers ‘signature’ to reduce overtreatment of prostate cancer

Dr. Paul Boutros

A team of researchers and clinician-scientists from across Canada have discovered a signature of 41 mutations that are common in prostate cancer and will help to prevent patients with non-aggressive disease from being overtreated. Dr. Paul Boutros, a Principal Investigator in OICR’s Informatics and Bio-computing Program and Co-Lead of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE), answered a few questions about how the signature was developed and its potential impact on patients.

Continue reading – Pan-Canadian research team uncovers ‘signature’ to reduce overtreatment of prostate cancer

January 9, 2017

Scientists identify DNA signature linked to prostate cancer severity

Findings published in renowned journal Nature

January 9, 2017 – TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE) has published findings from the world’s most comprehensive genetic analysis of prostate cancer tumours in the journal Nature. Led by Drs. Robert Bristow of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Paul Boutros of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, CPC-GENE has uncovered the full set of mutations that can occur in the most common cancer in men. By fully cataloging these mutations, the CPC-GENE team was able to create a new signature that predicts at an early stage whether a prostate cancer tumour will become aggressive or not, allowing for personalized treatment.

Continue reading – Scientists identify DNA signature linked to prostate cancer severity

January 5, 2017

Researchers disprove link between vasectomies and prostate cancer using Ontario health data

Doctor holding a tick

Are vasectomies safe? Some recent studies have found a link between vasectomies and the development of prostate cancer later in life. But new research using Ontario health data has challenged these studies and shown conclusively that there is no link, giving new peace of mind to those men who have undergone or are considering undergoing the procedure.

Continue reading – Researchers disprove link between vasectomies and prostate cancer using Ontario health data

December 7, 2016

Cancer stem cell scientists create tool to aid in planning treatment for leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults and is one of the most deadly. Although AML is treated as a single disease, patient response to intensive curative-intent chemotherapy varies. It is currently difficult to predict who will do well with standard treatment, and who will not benefit from standard treatment and might do better enrolling in a clinical trial where they may be offered novel therapies.

Continue reading – Cancer stem cell scientists create tool to aid in planning treatment for leukemia

December 6, 2016

Congratulations to Ahmed Aman on another successful Movember fundraiser

Dr. Ahmed Aman poses for a photo in front of a window

Dr. Ahmed Aman, Principal Research Scientist and Group Leader, Analytical Chemistry and ADME in OICR’s Drug Discovery Program, recently demonstrated that his commitment to cancer research goes beyond his work in the lab. For the sixth straight year Aman participated in Movember by growing a moustache to raised funds and awareness for men’s health issues, including prostate cancer. This year Aman exceeded his fundraising goal of $500 by collecting $770 in donations and has now raised $3,445 since beginning in 2011.

More information about Movember can be found here: https://ca.movember.com/

December 1, 2016

Expanding the DNA alphabet to understand cancer

Dr. Michael Hoffman poses for a photo at his desk.

The base components of DNA – adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine (commonly referred to as ATCG) are so fundamental to the study of genetics that they are probably familiar to anyone who has taken a high school biology class. Now, one team of researchers has expanded the ‘DNA alphabet’ to help aid in efforts to learn how cancers develop.

Continue reading – Expanding the DNA alphabet to understand cancer