UHN Secures Genome Canada Awards

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$12M in funding announced for two transformational genomic research projects at UHN.
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Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid spoke at the Genome Canada announcement at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre on June 5, 2015.
UHN researchers Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid (PM Cancer Centre Clinical Researcher) and Dr. Shaf Keshavjee (TGHRI Senior Scientist) have been collectively awarded $12M from Genome Canada and industry partners. The two successfully funded projects, which represent half of all awards granted nationally, will leverage cutting-edge genomic technologies to improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Kamel-Reid will partner with LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services to develop a national framework for the large-scale genomic analysis of tumours. While tumour profiling is an important step towards better customizing cancer treatments, it is not yet widely available. To address this, the project aims to develop cloud-based infrastructure for cancer genomic analyses and to make the approach accessible and integrated into routine clinical care. Providing genomic profiling as part of standard care will have tremendous benefit for the approximately 50,000 Canadians diagnosed with cancer each year.
Dr. Keshavjee will partner with Lung Bioengineering Inc., a subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation, to develop a genomic-based test for donor lungs. Currently, donor lung tissues are evaluated with physiological assessment alone, which deems less than 15 percent of lungs acceptable for transplantation. Using more detailed genomic approaches to perform such evaluation may increase the number of transplant-acceptable lungs to nearly 50 percent—providing more people with access to healthy donor lungs.
The awards are administered through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program, a program dedicated to promoting the use of genomic technologies to create social and economic benefits for Canadians.