June 19, 2018

More than 300,000 Canadians enrol in multi-decade research initiative to monitor disease trends

CPTP Leaders in OICR Data Centre

From left, Dr. John McLaughlin, executive director of CPTP, Cindy Morton, chief executive officer of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and Dr. Philip Awadalla, national scientific director of CPTP

Over the past 10 years, more than 300,000 Canadians have volunteered to be part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), a research platform that tracks the development of cancers and chronic diseases in the population over several decades to better understand risk factors.

Researchers from across Canada and the University of Toronto published a manuscript in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last week, marking a culmination of effort from hundreds of Canadian researchers to build the project with support from multiple national and provincial funders.

Continue reading – More than 300,000 Canadians enrol in multi-decade research initiative to monitor disease trends

March 29, 2018

Q and A with Dr. Philip Awadalla, Scientific Director of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project

Dr. Philip Awadalla poses for a photo in a hallway

Since 2008, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP) has collected health data and biological samples from more than 300,000 volunteer participants across Canada. Now that its primary data collection phase has concluded, the Project is sharing this data with qualified researchers to help uncover the factors behind cancer and other diseases. It was recently announced that OICR’s Dr. Philip Awadalla will serve as the Project’s National Scientific Director and that OICR will host the Project’s national database and other scientific activities. We sat down with Awadalla to learn more about his vision for CPTP’s future. Continue reading – Q and A with Dr. Philip Awadalla, Scientific Director of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project

January 24, 2018

Ontario Health Study calls on participants to complete follow-up questionnaire before March 31

Illustration of four arms holding up surveys

If you are an Ontario Health Study participant, time is running out to complete the Study’s first Follow-up Questionnaire before it closes March 31. By taking part in the questionnaire, which takes 30 minutes to complete, participants provide an update on their health that can be compared against data from the Study’s initial questionnaire. Scientists will be able to use the data that is gathered and compare data between the two questionnaires to study how lifestyle, environment and family history affect health over time and to develop strategies for the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases.

The OHS is part a nationwide research platform called the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project that has obtained health data from more than 300,000 Canadians — nearly one in every 50 individuals between the ages of 35-69.

Since the Follow-up Questionnaire was launched in November of 2016, more than 40,000 Study participants have competed or begun the process of completing it. The questionnaire seeks information about a person’s health that may have changed since the first time the provided information about to the Study such as height and weight. Participants can also expect to see some new questions, which seek data on mental health, eCigarette and marijuana use, and the use of over-the-counter drugs.

Participants can complete the Follow-Up Questionnaire by logging into their account and can learn more by reading a set of frequently asked questions. Don’t miss this opportunity to help advance health research with just 30 minutes of your time.

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

June 16, 2016

Study examines mental health in common ethnic minorities in Ontario

Large Group of People

Ethnocultural minorities are more likely to report suffering from mental health issues but are less likely to access treatment, a study out of York University using Ontario Health Study (OHS) survey data has found.

Continue reading – Study examines mental health in common ethnic minorities in Ontario

May 13, 2016

OICR researcher receives $2 million in federal funding to study metabolic conditions that can lead to cancer

The OHS Team

Dr. Philip Awadalla and the Ontario Health Study team.

Chronic health conditions place a heavy burden on patients and their families, and cost the healthcare system and the Canadian economy staggering amounts. Chronic diseases were behind 67 per cent of total direct costs in health care and 60 per cent of total indirect costs as a result of early death, loss of productivity and foregone income, according to a 2006 study by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Globally, non-communicable disease (NCD) was made a priority by the World Health Organization, leading to the formation of the NCD Alliance and the Sharjah Declaration, which aims to reduce the global burden of NCDs.

Continue reading – OICR researcher receives $2 million in federal funding to study metabolic conditions that can lead to cancer

May 2, 2016

$2 million in new funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research will help Ontario team study metabolic syndromes

Dr. Philip Awadalla

Dr. Philip Awadalla

Toronto (May 2, 2016) – Dr. Philip Awadalla, Senior Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Principal Investigator for the Ontario Health Study has been awarded $2 million by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  The award will fund the study of the role of both genes and the environment on the development of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of medical conditions that are common in aging adults, including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and insulin resistance.

These conditions are considered to be both risk factors and causal factors in the development of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A better understanding of how to prevent and treat the conditions of metabolic syndrome could also help in the design of new strategies to prevent these diseases before they develop.

Continue reading – $2 million in new funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research will help Ontario team study metabolic syndromes

December 1, 2015

OICR Investigator profile: Dr. Philip Awadalla

Dr. Philip AwadallaThe rise of genomics has provided scientists in many fields with insights that would not have been possible only a couple of decades ago. When Dr. Philip Awadalla first became interested in molecular genetics and evolution, genome technologies were just beginning to come to the fore.

“We didn’t have a human genome sequenced yet – the Human Genome Project was not completed – and we were still trying to answer very basic questions, like how many genes do humans have or which genes are important,” says Awadalla, who recently joined OICR as a Principal Investigator. “However, these basic questions are important, because both genomics and the mathematical models for understanding how it functions are the underpinning of all the tools we use in every field of genomics. You can’t understand how a genome works unless you understand where it came from.”

Continue reading – OICR Investigator profile: Dr. Philip Awadalla

November 15, 2015

New study on effect of trees rooted in Ontario Health Study data

Trees provide us with shade and help to clean the air, but new research shows they may also be helping us out in other ways. Using data from the Ontario Health Study (OHS) and City of Toronto forestry records, researchers at the University of Chicago have shown the positive effect that living near trees can have on our health.

Trees! Like the article

The study is the first to use data from the OHS, one of the largest health studies of its kind in Canada, and shows the power of this data for researchers studying how to help prevent chronic disease in our communities.

Continue reading – New study on effect of trees rooted in Ontario Health Study data