Research in Oncology

Research in the Division of Oncology is geared towards improving patient care, extending survival, and ultimately curing patients of their cancer by means of innovative cancer therapies. Through The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, the division conducts between 75 and 100 clinical trials for many different types and stages of cancer. In addition to the clinical research that is conducted at the Centre, The Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, the laboratory science research division of The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, has many programs investigating the basic biology of cancer cells. There is extensive interaction among the researchers at the Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, whose common interest is in seeing laboratory-based discoveries translated into improved cancer care.

Recent highlights include:

The establishment and consolidation of a dedicated cardio-oncology clinic (led by Drs Susan Dent and Michele Turek). This is the first such clinic in Canada and will enhance the care and research of cancer patients with cardiac disease and patients receiving therapies that are potentially cardiotoxic. This endeavor led to the establishment of The Canadian Cardiac Oncology Network, the success of which has resulted in an annual Canadian Cardiac Oncology Network Conference that is held in Ottawa.

The High Impact Clinical Trials Grant from the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (PI: Dr. Glen Goss) has allowed the initiation of a number of translational research projects. These include the evaluation of the cisplatin resistance factor ATF3 and its potential clinical application (Drs. Jim Dimitroulakos and Goss); the evaluation of therapeutic strategies to inhibit bone metastases (Drs. Christina Addison, Mark Clemons and Sekhon) and assessment of new mechanisms of resistance to Epidermal Growth Factor inhibitors in lung cancer.

The ongoing investigator led clinical trial of erlotinib and rosuvostatin in squamous cell carcinomas (Drs. Goss and Dimitroulakos), with the evaluation geranylgeranyl pathway.

Dr Mark Clemons received 2 grants from Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the study of bone metastases in woman with breast cancer.

An oncolytic virus program in GI cancers (Drs. Derek Jonker, John Bell and Rebecca Auer)

Dr. David Stewart and Dr. Michael Rudnicki have been working on establishing molecular profiling of tumors as both a research tool and part of the clinical care of cancer patients.

As we move into the 2012-2013 academic cycle, the Division of Medical Oncology is well placed as a national leader in oncology research, with chairs in Thoracic Oncology, Gastro-intestinal Oncology and Investigational New Drug development at the NCIC CTG. We anticipate increasing our links with researchers in the Department of Medicine, OHRI and the national and international research community.