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Queen’s, KHSC and KGHRI join Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network

Queen’s, KHSC and KGHRI join Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network

Queen’s University, including its clinical partners, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), and Kingston General Health Research Institute (KGHRI) have joined the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network through partnership with the Centre for Health Innovation (CHI) and Queen’s Cancer Research Institute (QCRI).  

The network, which is led by the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), is uniting cancer centres across Canada to accelerate the implementation of precision medicine so that Canadian cancer patients can access the right treatment at the right time for their particular cancer, no matter where they live. 

Through their inclusion in the network, Queen’s, KHSC, and KGHRI will be linked with other top cancer hospitals and research centres around the country. Together, these organizations are sharing resources and knowledge to create a high-quality database comprised of clinical and genomic data from over 15,000 cancer patients that is representative of the entire Canadian population. This database will be analyzed using new technologies such as artificial intelligence to advance our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer in ways that significantly impact patient outcomes. The Kingston institutions will officially join the Network via the Ontario-based Princess Margaret Cancer Consortium, led by the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and its partner Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto.

The new partnership includes funding of up to $300k from the TFRI over the next year for research involving patients with aggressive brain cancer (led by Dr. Teresa Purzner) and bladder cancer (led by Dr. Rob Siemens) – both of which have poor outcomes and require greater understanding and analysis. The funding will support the capacity for whole genome/proteome sequencing, multi-plex immunohistochemistry and other state-of-the-art lab testing contributed by Drs. Harriet Feilotter, Tricia Cottrell, and David Berman. Tests and data will also be made available to Queen’s cancer researchers, and additional funding will involve patients enrolled in oncology trials (led by Dr. Andrew Robinson).  

“Our inclusion in this national program will facilitate new research projects here in Kingston and will allow us to develop and test new treatments in preclinical cancer models and human clinical trials,” says Dr. Andrew Craig, Director of QCRI. “At the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, we seek to keep Terry’s Marathon of Hope alive in our research to advance new therapies that improve outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients.” 

“Inclusion in the Marathon of Hope means that Queen’s, KHSC, and KGHRI researchers will have access to world-class laboratory tests,” says Dr. Amber Simpson, Director of CHI and lead of the Kingston-based MOHCCN effort. “By becoming a member of the network, local researchers can access additional funding available from Terry Fox Research Institute and will eventually have access to data generated by researchers across Canada to further their studies.” 

“It is fantastic to have another Ontario-based institution join our consortium to enhance the collaboration between our cancer centres,” says Dr. Lillian Siu, who leads the Princess Margaret Cancer Consortium. “We congratulate Queen’s University and its clinical partners in joining the Network and look forward to working together to help accelerate precision medicine for patients in Ontario and the rest of Canada.”

“We are delighted to have these partners join the network,” says Dr. André Veillette, executive director of the MOHCCN. “Increasing membership in the MOHCCN is the best way to maximize the network’s impact, so that more data can be made available for analysis and more patients can benefit from findings derived from this data.” 

In creating the MOHCCN, the TFRI worked in collaboration with dozens of fundraising and research partners across the country, including the Government of Canada. Now, as a member of this network, Queen’s, KHSC, and KGHRI are helping them carry out their goal of using precision medicine to carry out Terry Fox’s dream of a world free of cancer.  

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