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The Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Genome Canada, Genome BC, Genome Quebec and the C17 Research Network announced their support of this $2.8 million research project on February 22, 2011.

The Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium: Translating next-generation sequencing technologies into improved therapies for high-risk childhood cancer

In a project supported by Genome BC, Dr. Poul Sorensen, a Vancouver pediatric pathologist at the BC Cancer Agency/University of British Columbia is leading the team that will explore the genomes (DNA) of four of the most challenging childhood cancers known.  Dr. Sorensen and his colleagues in the Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium hope to find the link between primary and metastatic tumours using revolutionary genomics technology and a highly skilled consortium of scientists and clinicians. Other Researchers participating in this work include: Steven Jones and Marco Marra (Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency); Michael D. Taylor, David Malkin, Cynthia Hawkins, and Annie Huang (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto); Conrad Fernandez (Dalhousie University); Nada Jabado (McGill University); Daniel Sinnett (Universite de Montreal).

Meulien and Goodyear

Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO,

Genome Canada and the Hon. Gary Goodyear,

Minister of State, Science and Technology

The team will focus on medulloblastoma (brain cancer), metastatic osteosarcoma (bone cancer), Pediatric high grade glioma, and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (two other types of pediatric brain tumours) to uncover genetic abnormalities that direct tumour cells to spread or become resistant to treatment. They will examine and directly compare the genetic signature of each of these diseases in primary tumour cells and tumour cells that have metastasized or relapsed. These studies will produce a first-time view of the tumour genomes in these diseases. This insight not only provides immediate potential for improving tailored therapies for children with these lethal cancers, but will enable the future development of new drugs for patients who otherwise have limited options for treatment.

"Having the genetic, biological and clinical expertise in Vancouver makes this an ideal place to lead this research. The research team has access to rare samples and can tap into an international network to allow for a quick and easy liaison from bench to bedside,” says Sorensen. The mutational landscape of cancer cells is nearly impossible to find with only one tumour to analyze; however, with a national network and international linkages the team can begin to make the imperative connections between normal and mutated genes across a larger group of cases.

“Genome BC is thrilled to be funding this essential and ground-breaking work. Our hope is that the results from this research will impact not only on childhood cancers but to shed light on the link between primary and metastatic tumours for all cancer patients,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.

“The next ten years in health research will be defined by our understanding of genomics and its effect on how we develop new treatment methods and monitoring tools,” said Dr. Pierre Chartrand, Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “Here at CIHR we are focusing on the application of a patient orientated research model, and you cannot get more patient oriented than helping defeat childhood cancer and rare diseases.” “Canada is now poised to take a leading position in disease gene discovery — opening up exciting new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research    Genome Canada       Genome BC     Genome Quebec     C17

For more information contact:

Karen Novik, Project Manager
Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency


Page last modified Mar 03, 2011