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OICR Enters Collaboration with Janssen Inc. in the Development of Multicentre Clinical Trials to Identify Improved Prostate Cancer Biomarkers

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Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) recently announced a collaboration with Janssen Inc. to find and test new biomarkers to identify patients with hormone resistant prostate cancer at high risk for disease progression and biomarkers of response to therapy. These biomarkers could lead to more personalized treatments and fewer side effects for prostate cancer patients.

“This collaboration will further advance the world-class research in prostate cancer already underway in Ontario,” said Dr. Hudson. “We are happy to partner with Janssen on this project in the hope of providing patients diagnosed with prostate cancer better and more precise treatment options.”

“Today’s announcement will see some of Ontario’s most talented researchers working together to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation. “Our government is working to make Ontario a place where this type of innovative partnership can flourish – both advancing knowledge and helping to strengthen our economy.”

The project will be led by OICR’s High Impact Clinical Trials Program in collaboration with researchers in Toronto, Hamilton, London and Ottawa. OICR and its research partners will leverage the province’s expertise in genomics, circulating tumour cells and molecular imaging to establish up to three multi-centre clinical trials in Ontario. The trials could last for up to three years.

“With improved biomarkers doctors can better differentiate those patients with aggressive prostate cancer from those with non-aggressive prostate cancer and those patients that are responding to treatments from those that are not,” said Dr. Janet Dancey, Director of OICR’s High Impact Clinical Trials Program. “This means we could better tailor therapy to the individual patient and potentially spare many men from the serious side effects associated with prostate cancer treatment, while also finding improved ways to treat men with more aggressive disease.”
Specific objectives of the project include evaluating the similarity between archived diagnostic samples, serial samples of circulating tumour cells and recent tumour biopsies, using next generation sequencing to correlate molecular profiles with outcomes in patients with hormone resistant prostate cancer and evaluating new imaging probes to assess tumour burden in patients and better determine response to treatment.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer. An estimated 26,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,000 will die of the disease each year. Hormone resistant prostate cancer refers to prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormone therapy. This usually occurs within one to three years after the start of treatment. Finding new biomarkers will allow doctors to determine which patients with hormone resistant prostate cancer are at risk of rapid progression and which are not, allowing doctors to better tailor treatments to individual patients and monitor their progression more precisely.

Source: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research