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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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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November 18, 2016

OICR participates in the fastest, long-distance academic big data transfer in Canada

A picture from OICR's Data Center

OICR was part of a group of organizations to achieve history when they helped reach an important milestone in Canadian computing. As part of the ORION network, OICR participated in an exercise to perform the fastest, long-distance big data transfer between academic institutions in Canada.

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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.

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October 18, 2016

Reactome releases 10,000th annotated human protein, a major milestone that will benefit research community

Reactome - Graphic announcing the 10,000th human protein annotated

Open source tools like Wikipedia and Google Maps help us get things done faster in our daily lives. In the same way, researchers rely on a variety of open source tools to help them make discoveries faster. Reactome (www.reactome.org) is one such tool. Researchers use it because it relates human genes, proteins and other biomolecules to the biological pathways and processes in which they participate, helping to facilitate new cancer research breakthroughs. Earlier this month Reactome reached a major milestone when it released its 10,000th annotated human protein to the research community. We spoke to OICR’s Dr. Robin Haw, who is Project Manager and Outreach Coordinator at Reactome, about the history of the project, the importance of this particular milestone and where the project is headed next.

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September 19, 2016

Open resource: How we’re making our research resources more accessible to the community

OICR Researcher in the lab

Dr. Rebecca Tamarchak discusses the launch of OICR’s new Collaborative Research Resources Directory, how it works, and plans for its development in the future.

Over the past decade, OICR has established state-of-the-art Technology Programs in molecular pathology and diagnostic development, genomics, informatics, medicinal chemistry and imaging, which are translating promising cancer discoveries into products, services and policies that improve cancer prevention and care for patients.

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September 15, 2016

Canadian government makes big investment in big data research

OICR's server room

On September 13 the Government of Canada, through Genome Canada, made a $4 million investment in Canadian big data research to help improve real world challenges such as infectious disease outbreaks, managing food crops and combating cancer.

Of the 16 projects funded across Canada, three are based at OICR. Led by OICR Principal Investigators Drs. Paul Boutros, Vincent Ferretti, Jared Simpson and Lincoln Stein (Stein is also OICR’s Interim Scientific Director and leader of the Institute’s Informatics and Biocomputing Program), the projects are developing ways to make genomics and health data more manageable, securely accessible and easily understood. Together these projects will help to facilitate cancer research and assist in the adoption of more precision medicine. As well, they have applications in other fields of genomics research beyond cancer, such as agriculture and energy.

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August 9, 2016

OICR’s Software Engineering Club goes global

SEC-Image

Software powers an increasingly large portion of our lives, from the phones in our hands to the computers we work at to the cars we drive. The engineering expertise behind all these tools has, unsurprisingly, become a hot commodity.

In cancer research software engineering is particularly important because the efficiencies and improvements that software engineers can find in fields such as data management can help researchers collaborate, work faster and take on more difficult challenges.

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July 20, 2016

A challenge to the community to improve RNA sequencing data

rna-seq

A new DREAM Challenge was launched on June 30 focusing on the abnormal RNA molecules in cancer cells. The ICGC-TCGA DREAM SMC-RNA Challenge is an international effort designed to improve standard methods for identifying cancer-associated rearrangements in RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data, providing new tools for cancer researchers. Improved RNA sequencing data will allow researchers to better understand cancer leading to new and better-personalized approaches to cancer treatment.

The Challenge is open to the entire research community, and anyone interested in participating is encouraged to register at https://synapse.org/SMC_RNA.

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