Dr. Kitty Huang
People with cancer look to rehabilitation services for strategies to cope with impairments resulting from the disease and its treatments, including changes in physical and cognitive abilities, independence and activities of daily living, and physical activity participation level. As survival rates improve, cancer rehabilitation will increasingly play a critical role in optimizing health and quality of life for survivors. Ontario continues to lack a coordinated cancer rehabilitation system despite being a strategic area of focus in Ontario Cancer Plan (OCP) IV. For those services that are available (either inpatient or outpatient), services vary widely in terms of availability, expertise, and patient access. Therefore, there are continued effort to explore and identify opportunities to improve the delivery of rehabilitation services for cancer patients.
The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive cancer rehabilitation services similar to that of other Canadian Centres such as Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto) or Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Calgary). These centres offer outpatient rehabilitation designed to maintain and/or improve the functional status of adult cancer patients
Dr. Yufeng Tong
Working with an industry partner, this project will focus on developing better drugs for cancer treatment. There are certain enzymes and proteins in our body that we know correlate with tumour progression and poor prognosis in multiple cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and brain cancer; two malignancies with the lowest five-year survival rate. We will focus on the protein coding gene USP9X as a therapeutic target and using a combination of artificial intelligence and protein biochemistry we hope to discover novel drug candidates targeting USP9X for cancer treatment.
Dr. Andrew Swan
This project will focus on investigating novel ways to protect against cancer. Cancer research often looks to the hallmarks of cancer to find answers. Hallmarks are the defense mechanisms in our cells that when breached can lead to cancer. Research has also shown that Tuberin, a protein in our body, lies at the heart of cell and tissue growth regulation. Since two critical hallmarks of cancer are mis-regulation of growth and proliferation (a rapid multiplication of cells), understanding tuberin’s role is critical. We propose that Tuberin acts as a critical barrier to cancer growth and represents a druggable target for many human cancers.
Dr. John Trant
23,300 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with, and 4,200 more expected to die from, prostate cancer in 2020 alone. The mortality numbers are lower than they used to be as survival has significantly improved thanks to the development of both targeted therapies and prostate cancerspecific imaging agents. Prostate cancer generally begins as hormone-sensitive adenocarcinoma (PCa), a disease treatable with androgen deprivation therapy Persistent treatment can result in the emergence of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), requiring second-generation androgen receptor-targeting agents. While initially successful, this second line of therapy often leads to the evolution of neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), characterized by aggressive androgen receptorindependent growth. It is a priority to obtain imaging tools capable of detecting disease that has progressed to NEPC as its emergence means that treatment must be modified to improve survival; prognosis becomes very poor as the tumour mutates. Unfortunately, these imaging tools do not exist.
The project aims to provide a pair of probes to distinguish between PSMA-positive prostate cancer and NAALADaseL1 positive prostate cancer (associated with neuroendocrine and likely treatment resistant). It can also help determine if a cancer is progressing from one stage to another.