To define better intervention strategies for individuals with aggressive cancers through: (i) a better understanding of disease classification and patient selection criteria, (ii) development and use of more predictive models (e.g. patient-derived cancer xenograft models) for targeted indications, (iii) a better understanding of tumor-stromal interactions and mechanistic actions of targeted therapies; (iv) integration of relevant imaging tools to rapidly assess therapeutic potential of treatments, (v) application of gene expression data to better understand the immediate impacts of treatment, and (vi) maintenance and expansion of the needed infrastructure to develop therapeutics in an academic setting.
Overarching Objectives and Exemplifying Initiatives
Experimental Therapeutics is a translational research department which provides therapeutic and diagnostic development capabilities focused on the critical need to rapidly establish the therapeutic value of emerging technologies through validated assessments in preclinical models of cancer and in patients.
This effort is highlighted by several initiatives:
- The BC Pancreatic Cancer Research Net, an excellent example of a partnership between clinical and basic research scientists at VGH, UBC, and BCC as well as donors all focused on advancing pancreatic cancer research in BC.
- The first clinical study (supported by Roche and Varian) of the PET imaging agent 18F-EF5 in Canada, a study evaluating changes in hypoxia in NSCLC following treatment with Avastin.
- The formal clinical development of an improved formulation of irinotecan; activities that included completion of formal GLP toxicology studies and prototype GMP manufacturing.
- Creation of the Living Tumor Laboratory, a unique Canadian resource created to improve the predictivity of pre-clinical drug efficacy evaluation of new or existing anti-cancer drugs, using patient-derived, clinically highly relevant cancer xenograft models and v) developing the collaboration with the Centre for Drug Research and Development.
ET has established a strong multidisciplinary program of grant and industry funded research projects and clinical trials. ET aspires to be the crowning jewel of BC Cancer’s translational research vision and one of the premier sites in North America to evaluate therapeutic interventions designed to improve treatment outcomes in cancer patients that are in need of better, more personalized, treatment options.
Objectives: Through a strategy embracing collaborative programs with research and clinical scientists allied across major tumour sites, Experimental Therapeutics will become well respected internationally for our proficiency and efficiency in linking preclinical and clinical research. This effort will rely on existing strengths within BC Cancer and will be developed around several broad objectives/goals: