OICR launches five large-scale Ontario research initiatives to combat some of the most deadly cancers

Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science

Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, yesterday announced the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research is launching five unique, cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional Translational Research Initiatives (TRIs), each focused on a single type of or treatment approach to cancer. With $24 million in funding over two years, the TRIs will bring together world-leading scientists to tackle some of the most difficult to treat cancers and test innovative solutions to some of the most serious challenges in cancer today.

The TRIs build on Ontario’s proven strengths in areas such as stem cells, immuno-oncology, pediatric cancers, genomics, clinical trials and informatics. Working together, the province’s top scientists and clinicians will accelerate the development of much needed solutions for patients around the globe, with a focus on acute leukemia and brain, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Each TRI includes clinical trials to maximize patient impact.

“In just over 10 years, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research has become a global centre of excellence that is moving the province to the forefront of discovery and innovation in cancer research. It is home to outstanding Ontario scientists, who are working together to ease the burden of cancer in our province and around the world,” said Moridi.


  • Acute Leukemia TRI (led by Drs. John Dick and Aaron Schimmer at the University Health Network (UHN))
  • Brain Cancer TRI (led by Drs. Peter Dirks and Michael Taylor at SickKids)
  • Immuno-oncology TRI (ACTION) (led by Drs. John Bell and Marcus Butler at The Ottawa Hospital and UHN)
  • Ovarian Cancer TRI (led by Drs. Amit Oza and Rob Rottapel at UHN)
  • Pancreatic Cancer TRI (PanCuRx) (led by Dr. Steven Gallinger at UHN)

The funding announced yesterday will also support Early Prostate Cancer Developmental Projects led by Drs. Paul Boutros and George Rodrigues.

The TRIs were selected by an International Scientific Review Panel, which conducted an extensive evaluation of all submissions based on scientific merit and clinical impact.

“The quality of the proposed TRIs and the scientific and clinical leadership were very highly regarded by all the reviewers,” said Dr. Patricia Ganz, TRI Review Co-Chair, and Director of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. “Ontarians can be proud of the world-class research teams assembled for the TRIs and the potential positive impact of their work on patients worldwide.”


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