Funding: Drs. Glenn Bauman, Richard Kim awarded funding from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Two researchers at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry are among the recipients of new funding from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), supporting their respective studies on prostate cancer imaging and chemotherapy toxicity.

The $16 million in total funding, distributed among 16 studies in the province, is part of the OIRC’s new Clinical Translation Pathway. The awards support pre-clinical research and clinical trials that focus on early-stage and recurrent cancers.

Dr. Glenn Bauman, Professor of Oncology and Medical Biophysics is co-leading a clinical study to validate “next-generation” imaging techniques to find and track prostate cancer from diagnosis through treatment.

By tracking imaging changes before and after treatments, Bauman, along with co-lead Dr. Andrew Loblaw with Sunnybrook Health Research Institute in Toronto, will monitor whether patients are responding to radiation therapy.

“Optimizing the integration of advanced prostate imaging into the non-invasive treatment and monitoring of men with prostate cancer is a clear need,” said Bauman. “This funding supports a clinical study that provides access to state-of-the-art imaging for men with locally advanced prostate cancer and allows us to better understand how this image can help us design high dose precision radiotherapy treatments and evaluate the success of this treatment.”

Dr. Richard Kim, Professor and Chair of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, as well as the Wolfe Medical Research Chair in Pharmacogenomics, is also a funding recipient.

Kim’s study will examine genetic factors linked to toxicity during chemotherapy.

His team has created a custom-targeted NextGen DNA sequencing panel that is capable of rapid identification of patient-specific genetic variants in the enzyme DPYD, which has been recognized as a cause of toxicity.

Kim’s team plans to demonstrate that integrating a targeted sequencing panel could result in more precise dosing and less toxicity for chemotherapy patients.

The OICR funding aims to support projects that have the potential to produce real-world impact for patients with cancer.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in Ontario. Currently, nearly two in five people in the province will receive a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime. One in four of those people are expected to die from the disease,” said Dr. Steven Gallinger, Head of Clinical Translation at OICR. “The Clinical Translation Pathway is a major new source of funding for Ontario’s cancer researchers that will support practice-changing research in biomarkers, diagnostics and therapeutics that will advance early detection and intervention research with a clear path to clinical impact.”