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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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January 10, 2017

Partnership to expand genomic data sharing in Europe

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.

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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.

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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