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$12.6M supports high-impact clinical trials for cancer research


Kingston, ON – Dr Tom Hudson, president and scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), has announced $12.6 million in funding over four years for OICR’s High Impact Clinical Trials (HICT) program.

The HICT program, led by Dr Janet Dancey, will introduce more translational research into clinical trials in Ontario. It evaluates innovative technologies that will lead to more personalized medicine, offering more targeted treatment potentially associated with greater efficacy and less toxicity.

Two major projects within the High Impact Clinical Trials Program were also announced today, both of which aim to better integrate recent advances in genomics research into regular clinical practice.

The Rare Tumour Clinical Trials Initiative is a partnership between OICR, Pfizer Canada, and the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG), an academic clinical trials cooperative group based at Queen’s University. The NCIC CTG, led by its director, Dr Ralph Meyer, and the group’s Investigational New Drug Program, led by its director, Dr Elizabeth Eisenhauer, will conduct a multi-centre clinical trial evaluating patients with rare tumours. The initiative brings together a multidisciplinary team of clinical investigators, pathologists and genomics researchers to investigate new solutions to treating rare tumours.

Due to their infrequency, rare cancers are still quite poorly understood, severely limiting current treatment options for patients with these cancers. However, recent advances in genomics technology offer hope that better treatment options resulting from this initiative may be achieved within five years. The novel design of this trial can also serve as a template for future trials testing treatment options for other rare cancers.

Dr Hudson also announced the Genomics Cohort Study for Ontario Clinical Trials, an HICT Program initiative in collaboration with University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), led by Dr Lillian Siu, director of the Phase I Program at PMH. OICR’s High Impact Clinical Trials program will collaborate with genomics researchers to develop standard operating procedures that will help to safely and effectively integrate cutting-edge genomic technology with standard clinical practice and improve patient care. This will help to determine how best to match patients to the most optimal treatments using genetic information to maximize anti-tumour efficacy and reduce side effects. There are investigators involved in the study at cancer centres in Ottawa, London, Hamilton and Thunder Bay.