May 3, 2017

Study bringing more precision medicine to Ontario’s cancer patients

 

A technician holds a blood sample and writes down information.

The advent of genomic sequencing and targeted therapies has opened the door to new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer. The Ontario-wide Cancer Targeted Nucleic Acid Evaluation (OCTANE) program is a new, province-wide initiative supported by OICR that will allow more patients to benefit from these innovations while also helping to advance cancer research in Ontario.

Continue reading – Study bringing more precision medicine to Ontario’s cancer patients

October 21, 2016

OICR-led study finds four unique genomic signatures in pancreas cancer, uncovers potential of immunotherapies

The pancreas cancer puzzle

Pancreas cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of the disease. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, only 8 percent of pancreas cancer patients survive more than five years after diagnosis. OICR’s PanCuRx Translational Research Initiative has recently published the results of an international collaboration that increases understanding of this complex disease and how to treat it based on a patient’s unique profile.

Continue reading – OICR-led study finds four unique genomic signatures in pancreas cancer, uncovers potential of immunotherapies

June 21, 2016

Ask an expert: How are new cancer drugs created?

Dr. David Uehling in the Lab.

Cancer drugs help millions of people every year by assisting them in living longer or by reducing side effects or symptoms. In some cases, cancer drugs can even prevent cancers from developing. But cancer drugs take a long time to carefully develop and test, and the process is expensive. We asked Dr. David Uehling, Scientific Advisor and Group Leader, Medicinal Chemistry Group in the Drug Discovery Program at OICR, to help explain the process and its challenges.

Continue reading – Ask an expert: How are new cancer drugs created?

June 1, 2016

Making prostate cancer diagnosis more PRECISE

Dr. Laurence Klotz of the Sunnybrook Research Institute

Dr. Laurence Klotz of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a world leader in the field of prostate cancer research. He has been a champion of active surveillance (also known as watchful waiting) for over 20 years, an approach to prostate cancer treatment that has allowed thousands of men with low-risk prostate cancer to avoid or delay therapy by monitoring it closely instead of immediately treating it.

Now Klotz has launched a new clinical trial called PRECISE, funded with $3 million in support by the Movember Foundation, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Prostate Cancer Canada, that will use MRI to help to better diagnose prostate cancer without invasive biopsy.

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May 20, 2016

The little-known connection between citrus fruit and the first clinical trial

sliced limes

The first clinical trial was not carried-out in a hospital or clinic; rather it was conducted on the ships of the British Royal Navy while at sea. On May 20, 1747, Dr. James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, published his findings on several remedies for scurvy and with that established one of the most important tools in health research today – the clinical trial.

Continue reading – The little-known connection between citrus fruit and the first clinical trial

May 19, 2016

Ask an expert: All about clinical trials

Karen ArtsClinical trials are an essential part of the healthcare system, giving patients access to cutting-edge treatments and providing researchers with concrete information about how these new treatments work in the clinic. To mark International Clinical Trials Day tomorrow, we spoke with Karen Arts, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) about the importance of clinical trials and how patients and their families can find out more about them.

What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are a formal way to evaluate if a new treatment, which could be a medication or other type of therapy, is better than what is currently used to treat a condition or disease. Cancer clinical trials are important because that is how the effectiveness of new cancer treatments are tested and establish whether they should be adopted as new standard treatments for cancer patients.

Continue reading – Ask an expert: All about clinical trials

May 4, 2016

It’s time to start talking about clinical trials

Clinical trials have helped millions. Yet most patients still aren’t aware that they may be eligible for a clinical trial and that enrolling in a trial could help them.

CCCTN News banner

The first step in addressing this problem is to get a conversation started between patients and their health care providers, which is why this month the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) launched the Ask Me Campaign in hospitals across Canada.

The Ask Me Campaign takes a low-tech, one-on-one approach to the problem. Using posters in clinics and buttons for health care providers to wear when seeing patients, the program has a simple goal: to let people know that asking questions about trials is OK.

Continue reading – It’s time to start talking about clinical trials

May 4, 2016

The Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network launches Ask Me Campaign to raise awareness of cancer clinical trials

TORONTO, ON (May 4, 2016) — Dr. Janet Dancey, Scientific Director of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) announced today the roll out of a new national campaign to raise awareness of cancer clinical trials in Canada ahead of International Clinical Trials Day on May 20.

The Ask Me Campaign will be introduced at more than 60 cancer centres across Canada and include hospital staff wearing “Ask Me” buttons, as well as posters and brochures placed in hospitals. These will be used to encourage patients to engage their healthcare team in a conversation about clinical trials and see if a trial may be a treatment option for them. The ultimate goal is to increase awareness about, and enrolment in, cancer clinical trials in Canada.

Continue reading – The Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network launches Ask Me Campaign to raise awareness of cancer clinical trials

January 9, 2016

3CTN-funded clinical trial to test new method of finding genomic changes in patients with aggressive prostate cancer

3CTN - Plasma vialsThe Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) is pleased to announce, in collaboration with Janssen Canada, funding of $500,000 to a study led by Dr. Kim Chi of the Vancouver Prostate Centre and the BC Cancer Agency. The study will evaluate the use of cell-free (or cfDNA) profiling to identify genomic alterations in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), the lethal form of prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormone treatments.

Continue reading – 3CTN-funded clinical trial to test new method of finding genomic changes in patients with aggressive prostate cancer

February 25, 2015

OICR extends collaboration with Janssen Inc. to develop clinical trials for prostate cancer

TORONTO, ON (February 25, 2015) — The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is extending its collaborative research partnership with Janssen Inc. to develop more multi-centre clinical trials and other translational research projects that address important clinical questions in prostate cancer, announced Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of OICR.

The new funds will be made available to qualifying researchers at cancer centres across Canada who are addressing important clinical questions in prostate cancer. The funding will be dispersed to researchers through the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network, which is based at OICR, through an open application process.

“We are proud to extend this successful collaboration with our partners at Janssen,” said Dr. Hudson. “Our work together is already supporting some of the most promising translational prostate cancer research in Canada. The continuation of this partnership will help extend this collaboration further, and ultimately help bring the discoveries made in research to patients sooner.”

Janssen Inc. is a leading healthcare company that offers innovative products in areas of high unmet medical need like oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

“Prostate cancer places a significant burden upon the men who are diagnosed with the disease and their loved ones,” said Dr. Janet Dancey, Scientific Director of 3CTN. “Working with Janssen to identify and support the most promising translational research in Canada for prostate cancer will help us to find improved treatment for these men with fewer and less serious side effects.”

“OICR’s partnership with Janssen is an exciting example of how collaborative, innovative research has the ability to bring very tangible benefits for Ontarians. The Ontario government is proud to support this partnership, which not only leads to critical advances in prostate cancer treatment, but also spurs economic growth in the province,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation.

OICR and Janssen first entered into partnership in 2012 and first extended the agreement in 2013. There are currently three projects underway as part of the collaboration. These projects are studying ways to better predict the development of castrate resistant prostate cancer in hopes of providing more targeted treatment with fewer side effects for patients.

Utility of miRNA signatures to predict rapid versus delayed onset of castrate resistance in prostate cancer
Dr. Christina Addison, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Addison’s lab is validating the use of miRNA expression to help doctors to better monitor disease progression and target treatment for patients.

Assessment of CRPC response through comprehensive characterization using novel biomarkers
Dr. Eric Winquist, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. Winquist is leading a multicentre clinical trial studying novel blood and imaging biomarkers that can be used prior to therapy to better guide treatment and evaluate how patients respond.

Assessment of new molecular imaging strategies for prostate cancer
Dr. Katherine Zukotynski, Sunnybrook Health Research Institute

Dr. Zukotynski is running a clinical study examining novel imaging biomarkers that could provide a more accurate early measure of response to therapy and have a higher prognostic value than standard imaging.

The new agreement announced today extends the initiative through 2015 and opens the eligibility for funding beyond Ontario to cancer sites across Canada.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer. An estimated 26,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,000 will die of the disease each year.

January 13, 2015

Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network receives new funding, launches online service to connect patients to clinical trials

TORONTO, ON (January 13, 2015) – Dr. Janet Dancey, Scientific Director of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN), today announced that 3CTN has received funding support from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership), the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and CancerCare Manitoba. These contributions are the first from 3CTN’s coalition of cancer research funding organizations. 3CTN is in the process of finalizing additional funding commitments.

The funding will be used to establish the Network’s sites at cancer centres conducting clinical trials across Canada. Network sites will receive financial support and other resources to be able to increase trials available to patients. Dancey also announced that 3CTN has also launched a new online service that will assist patients and clinicians in finding cancer clinical trials that may be of benefit.

“This funding is great news for Canada’s cancer clinical trials infrastructure, which is essential for bringing the most promising therapies and technologies to the clinic,” says Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of OICR. “Connecting patients to clinical trials is important in moving the science forward, but also allows us to provide avenues of treatment for those patients who have exhausted standard treatment options.”

3CTN is a pan-Canadian initiative to improve patient access to trials and the efficiency and quality of clinical trials activities in Canada. Its aim is to provide support and coordination for a network of teams at cancer treatment centres and hospitals and enable the sites to increase their capacity and capability to conduct academic trials and increase access for patients to participate in trials.

Seven Network Regional Coordinating Centres and 15 Network Cancer Centres will be established by 3CTN with the funding. In the future 3CTN will expand to include many Network Affiliated Cancer Centres. Currently 3CTN has 229 clinical trials in its portfolio including 60 pediatric trials, with more to be added as they are ready to be opened for patients. These academic trials supported by 3CTN reflect the priorities of clinicians, researchers, patients, ministries of health and funders.

“Connecting cancer patients with clinical trials may help to improve their chances of better treatment and outcomes, two key elements of Canada’s national cancer strategy. By strengthening the environment for cancer clinical trials in our country, 3CTN will improve the quality of cancer care for all Canadians,” says Ms. Shelly Jamieson, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

“With approximately 24,000 individuals diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the investment by CBCF to 3CTN reflects our commitment to bring new breast cancer treatments to patients sooner. Supporting the breast cancer clinical research community is critical for ensuring that innovative Canadian research has an opportunity to improve outcomes and the quality of life for all Canadians affected by breast cancer,” says Ms. Sandra Palmaro, Co-CEO Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The funding contribution from CancerCare Manitoba comes as the Government of Manitoba highlighted supporting academic clinical trials as a priority in its Speech from the Throne on November 20, with the specific goal of increasing patient participation in clinical trials.

“Ontario is thrilled that organizations from across Canada have come together to fund this important initiative. This network will give researchers the ability to bring life-saving innovations into cancer centres sooner and offer more patients the opportunity to join clinical trials. Both may lead to better treatments and healthier outcomes for people in Ontario and around the world,” says Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation.