Summaries of Funded Research

Clinician Scientist Lay Summaries
  1. Peter Black
  2. Girish Kulkarni
Pilot Grant Lay Summaries
  1. Christina Addison
  2. Alison Allan
  3. Robert Bristow
  4. Michael Cox
  5. Robert Day
  6. Louis Lacombe
  7. Hon Leong
  8. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson
  9. Paulo Nuin
  10. Paul Park
  11. Frederic Pouliot
  12. John Stagg
  13. Mark Trifiro
  14. Kishor Wasan
  15. Gang Zheng
  16. Amina Zoubeidi
Clinician Scientist Lay Summaries
 1. Peter Black: Circulating tumour cells in prostate cancer: the metastatic window: University of British Columbia
  Dr. Black’s team is studying a microfluidic device to detect cancer cells not picked up by standard methods. Identifying these cells may act as a biomarker of the patient’s disease status, help researchers learn more about how cancer spreads, and may reveal new targets for emerging treatments.
 2. Girish Kulkarni: Biopsy avoidance in patients at risk for prostate cancer and in patients with low risk prostate cancers: developing tools for personalized medicine: Princess Margaret Hospital
  There are some risks associated with prostate biopsy, including pain, problems with urination or infection. Dr. Kulkarni’s research will develop models to identify when prostate biopsy could be delayed, such as with patients most likely to have a negative biopsy or a very low-risk prostate cancer where treatment would not be recommended. Patients and clinicians will be able to use these models for personalized clinical decision-making.
  Pilot Grant Lay Summaries
1. Christina Addison: Regulation of Prostate Cancer Metastasis and Response to Therapy by Beta1 Integrins: Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  A protein in tumour cells, ß1 integrin, controls prostate tumour cell growth and invasion and affects the spread of cancer to the bone (bone metastases) and bone deterioration. This study hypothesizes that suppressing ß1 integrin activity will stop the growth of bone metastases and enhance the anti-tumour effectiveness of current treatments targeting the bones.
 2.  Alison Allan: Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in prostate cancer: are we finding the real "bad guys"?: University of Western Ontario
  Dr. Allan is looking at how to create better blood tests to detect circulating cancer cells, which would allow for real-time tracking of disease progression in prostate cancer patients. Her work will also identify key characteristics of the most aggressive cancer cells to allow for new therapies to target these cells and stop the spread of prostate cancer in patients.
 3.  Robert Bristow: High-throughput Discovery of Prostate Tumour Initiating Cells Markers for Prognosis and Personalized Medicine: Princess Margaret Hospital
  Scientists have theorized that resistant cancers contain “cancer stem cells” which are a small but deadly sub-population of the tumour. This research team has developed a way to purify and study these special prostate cancer cells. New cancer therapies can then be designed to specifically kill the aggressive cells and improve prostate cancer cure rates.
 4.  Michael Cox: Regulation of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) by Gli proteins and its effects on progression of prostate cancer: Vancouver Prostate Centre
  This proposal aims to study the cross talk that may occur between different proteins and enzymes that are responsible for the progression of prostate cancer. Identification of such a molecular marker will help establish diagnostic tools and/or treatment options for patients with high-risk disease.
 5.   Robert Day: The development of PACE4 Inhibitors for novel prostate cancer therapies: University of Sherbrooke
  Dr. Day’s research looks at using compounds that block the enzyme PACE4 that helps prostate cancer progress. The advantage of this approach is that the therapy is targeted and cannot affect other sites, such as non-tumour cells, and thus will reduce any potential for toxic side effects.
 6.  Louis Lacombe: Immune score as a new possible approach to predict prostate cancer outcome after prostatectomy: Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec - L'Hotel-Dieu de Québec
  As the immune system attempts to fight cancer, immune cells end up within tumours. Identifying these cells and quantifying their presence appear is one of the best methods to predict the evolution of tumours. Dr. Lacomb’s team will study a collection of prostate tumours to analyze the presence of immune cells to predict their evolution and help choose the best treatment for the individual.
 7.  Hon Leong: Non-invasive staging of prostate cancer: detection of circulating prostate microparticles using unique metastasis-specific antibody 1A5: London Health Sciences Centre
  Dr. Leong’s research focuses on a new blood test that has advantages over current techniques like MRI because it is non-invasive, inexpensive and could detect the potential for cancer to spread before it occurs. This could provide a window of opportunity to allow clinicians to focus on high-risk prostate cancer patients before the cancer spreads to the bone and lymph nodes.
 8.  Anne-Marie Mes-Masson: Involvement of IKKe in castration resistance and prostate cancer progression: Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
  Inflammation is important in prostate cancer and can affect tumour growth and how patients respond to treatment. A protein called IKKe is important in regulating such inflammation. This study will look at when this protein helps the cancer spread and when it does not based on the presence of hormones.
 9.   Paulo Nuin: Meta-analysis of prognostic DNA copy number biomarkers for selection of unique combinations of FISH probes that correlate with aggressive CaP: Queen's University
  This research uses powerful computer programs and advanced statistical methods to identify the most important DNA changes that happen in incurable tumours. Based on these findings, Dr. Nuin and team will design and use probes as a non-invasive test that would provide a more accurate prognosis. The findings will also encourage creative approaches to developing new, more specific drugs based on a better understanding of aggressive tumours.
10.  Paul Park: EMT-associated genes as prognostic biomarkers in Gleason score 3+3 biopsies of prostatic adenocarcinoma: Queen's University
  Treatments for prostate cancer can have adverse effects; as such, there is an urgent need for a test that can identify higher-risk cancers at the time of biopsy, so that only high-risk patients are treated. Dr. Park is developing such a test using genes found in higher-risk cancers. This test may be useful in reducing the unnecessary morbidity and health care costs associated with overtreatment of prostate cancer.
11.  Frederic Pouliot: In Vivo Prostate Cancer Transcriptional Signature Detection Using Integrative Multigenic Molecular Imaging: Laval University
  In more than half of all cases, prostate cancer is not confined to the prostate and many patients are treated for a lower-risk tumour than what they actually have because of something missed on the biopsy. To better personalize treatment decisions, Dr. Pouliot’s research proposes to develop new imaging techniques to reveal more precisely tumours in the prostate. This will help to detect only prostate cancer tumours that have aggressive features and that need immediate treatment as opposed to tumours suitable for surveillance only.
12. John Stagg: Targeting CD73 for treatment of prostate cancer: Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
  Immune cells can seek and destroy tumour cells that have spread through the body. However, prostate tumours can block immune cells using a protein called CD73. Dr. Stagg’s team is studying how to block the protein to stop the growth and spread of tumours.
13.  Mark Trifiro: Novel Targeted Abiotic Therapeutics and Imaging Agents for Prostate Cancer: Jewish General Hospital
  Dr. Trifiro’s research looks at a “Trojan horse” approach used to target and kill prostate cancer cells using ultrasound. Special “tags” on molecules that will enter prostate cancer cells can be activated so they become toxic only to prostate cancer cells. This can accomplish what surgery does, that is, get rid of the prostate cancer, but without surgery and its serious side effects.
14.  Kishor Wasan: Role of SR-BI-mediated cholesterol influx and intercellular synthesis as potential sources of cholesterol required for de novo steroidogenesis in castration-resistant prostate cancer: University of British Columbia
  Dr. Wasan’s team is studying whether depriving prostate cancer cells of cholesterol will make it impossible for them to produce male hormones, resulting in reduced tumour growth. Targeting cholesterol may work as a treatment on its own, but it may also be useful in combination with the current therapies to prevent or recover from prostate cancer resistant to other treatment.
15.  Gang Zheng: Porphysome-enabled Focal Laser Ablation of Prostate Cancer: University Health Network
  Lasers and ultrasound are physical methods that show promise in destroying prostate cancer tumours, minus any adverse side effects. Dr. Zheng is looking at more aggressive (and so more effective) but safe laser treatments. This new laser therapy provides a safe alternate to active surveillance or radical therapies in patients at a low risk of progression.
16.  Amina Zoubeidi: Persistent androgen receptor activation after maximum androgen blockade: Vancouver Prostate Centre
  To grow and survive, prostate cancer tumours require a male hormone (androgen) like testosterone. Therefore, anti-androgen therapy is used to control tumour growth; however, some prostate cancer tumours can still grow after being treated. Dr. Zoubeidi and team will study what molecules are blocking anti-hormone therapy currently being used to treat prostate cancer.

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