Toronto, ON – Pfizer Global Research and Development is joining forces with researchers in Ontario to discover and validate new targets for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of colorectal cancer.
The program, entitled POP-CURE (an acronym for PMH-OICR-Pfizer-CURE), will be led by Dr Bradly Wouters, senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) senior investigator, Selective Therapies Program. Dr Wouters and a team of scientists at OCI and OICR will use genomic and molecular pathology approaches and develop a large clinical biobank to identify molecular signatures in colorectal cancer. These molecular signatures will be used to accelerate the development of biomarkers for early detection, monitoring and treatment of cancer.
Biomarkers identified by the POP-CURE study could be used to classify colorectal cancer by sub-type at the molecular level, providing doctors with powerful new tools for predicting patient prognosis and response to treatment. Identification of molecular signatures could also aid in the development of new therapeutics that target cancer cells selectively.
Pfizer Global Research and Development will contribute $6 million over three years for the participating laboratories in Ontario. The OICR and OCI scientists will leverage existing Ontario government support that has been provided to OICR and other organizations to build and utilize state-of-the-art research infrastructure such as equipment and tissue banks. The Ministry of Research and Innovation is providing an additional $900,000 in the POP-CURE project through its Biopharmaceutical Investment Program.
“I am very pleased with how the vision of Ontario and Pfizer scientists converged, and led to an exciting plan to use cutting-edge technologies and novel concepts about cancer cells, and transform these into new clinical strategies,” says Dr Tom Hudson, president and scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), who is serving as a principal investigator with the POP-CURE cancer genomics research group.