March 7, 2017

Software Engineering Club: Distributed Ledgers, Blockchains and Smart Contracts

Dusan Andric, a Software Developer at OICR, provides an introduction into the ideas, technologies, and use cases of distributed ledgers, blockchains and smart contracts.

February 23, 2017

New Gene Sequencing Software Could Aid in Early Detection, Treatment of Cancer

A closeup of the nanopore sequencing device

Digital Detection Tool Will Be Shared Freely Over the Web

Toronto, ON and Baltimore, MD (February 23, 2017) A research team from the United States and Canada has developed and successfully tested new computational software that determines whether a human DNA sample includes an epigenetic add-on linked to cancer and other adverse health conditions.

Continue reading – New Gene Sequencing Software Could Aid in Early Detection, Treatment of Cancer

February 23, 2017

FACIT-Seeded Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$25M Series A Led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation

 

OICR and FACIT logosFinancing leverages and strengthens Ontario’s next-generation radiotherapeutics expertise, products

TORONTO, ON (February 23, 2017) – The Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) are pleased to report that Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fusion) has closed a US$25M Series A financing, with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) as the lead investor. Additional, new investors include venture groups HealthCap, TPG Biotechnology Partners, and Genesys Capital, as well as founding investor FACIT.

Continue reading – FACIT-Seeded Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$25M Series A Led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation

February 15, 2017

BioCanRX makes a major investment in Canadian biotherapeutics research

 

CAT-T

Biotherapeutics, a relatively new class of treatments, have shown great promise and are generating a lot of excitement in the cancer research community. These treatments harness the power of oncolytic viruses, cell therapies and antibodies to kill cancer. BioCanRX, Canada’s biotherapeutics research network, has announced $11 million in funding for 16 projects that will enable scientists across the country to bring their innovations to patients sooner.

Continue reading – BioCanRX makes a major investment in Canadian biotherapeutics research

February 13, 2017

International collaboration cooks up powerful new software: MISO

LIMS system

Keeping track of samples and organizing their associated data is a crucial part of the research process. Like many labs around the world, those at OICR were using a commercially available Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to perform this task. However, the researchers using it found that this tool placed far too many constraints on their work. So what did they do? They built their own in partnership with the Earlham Institute (EI) in the U.K. This collaboration has resulted in powerful, flexible and open source software called MISO (Managing Information for Sequencing Operations).

Continue reading – International collaboration cooks up powerful new software: MISO

February 13, 2017

JSON: Like a Boss

Bob Tiernay explores the fascinating world of jq, “the JSON Processor”. Starting with a motivation, he then covers the language, provides helpful tips, showcases a real world example, cautions some things to avoid and finishes with a discussion of the ecosystem.

February 10, 2017

How chemical probes can boost cancer research

Dr. David Uehling in the Lab.

Guest post by David Uehling, PhD, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, on behalf of the Chemistry In Cancer Research Working Group, part of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

The quest for a new cancer drug often begins when a protein target is implicated as an important driver in tumourigenesis. For cancer researchers, small molecules that block or stimulate such proteins can be valuable tools in research. Not only do they help us understand the role that the protein plays in cancer biology, but they also enable researchers to demonstrate which tumours are sensitive toward inhibition or stimulation with that protein target of interest, providing early clues as for patient selection and biomarker identification. Moreover, the knowledge that a small molecule can bind to such a protein builds confidence that this target is indeed “druggable,” which can provide a powerful stimulus to initiate a sustained effort to find medicines for that target.

Continue reading – How chemical probes can boost cancer research

February 10, 2017

OICR researchers to be part of Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge helping to answer cancer’s biggest questions

Technology and DNA

Toronto (February 10, 2017) – Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) researchers Drs. Lincoln Stein and Steven Gallinger have been announced as members of one of the first global research teams to be recipients of Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge.

The Grand Challenge aims to help overcome the biggest challenges facing cancer research in a global effort to beat cancer sooner.

Stein and Gallinger’s pioneering team will study samples from five continents to understand the DNA damage associated with different cancers, to understand what causes them and if they can be prevented. The project will be led by Professor Mike Stratton at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, with collaborators from France, the U.S. and U.K.

Continue reading – OICR researchers to be part of Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge helping to answer cancer’s biggest questions

February 9, 2017

ICGCmed will provide wealth of vital new information to scientists

ICGCmed - Image from white paper

The ability to sequence and study the human genome and the genomes of different cancer types has allowed scientists to increase our understanding of the biology of these diseases. In turn this has helped to create new preventative strategies, diagnostic and prognostic tools as well as better treatments. But what if there was a way to make this information even more useful? An international group is working to establish a project that will do just that.

Continue reading – ICGCmed will provide wealth of vital new information to scientists

February 3, 2017

Saturday, February 4 is World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day - February 4, 2017

Cancer is a global concern. Cancer Research UK estimated that in 2012 there were 14.1 million new diagnoses of cancer worldwide and 8.2 million deaths could be attributed to the disease. While these staggering numbers alone may paint a bleak picture, it is important to remember that around the world scientists are improving methods to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Their efforts have drastically increased cancer survival over the last few decades.

OICR is proud to contribute to this global cause through its provincial, national and international research projects. Cancer is too large and complex an issue to be tackled by one organization alone. Below we’re sharing a selection of stories from the last several months highlighting the progress that has been made by researchers at the Institute, working together with our partners, to help reduce the impact of cancer on the lives of people around the world.

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

New findings challenge current view of how pancreas cancer develops

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

Constructing the cloud

An interview with Dr. David LeBrun, leader of OICR’s new molecular pathology network

Partnership to expand genomic data sharing in Europe

January 26, 2017

Dr. John Dick to present 2017 Tobias Award Lecture

Dr. John Dick

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has honoured Dr. John Dick by selecting him to deliver the 2017 Tobias Award Lecture at the organization’s annual meeting June 14-17 in Boston. The honour, supported by the Tobias Foundation, recognizes promising research into stem cell therapies for haematological conditions.

Continue reading – Dr. John Dick to present 2017 Tobias Award Lecture

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.