The Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) is a pan-Canadian initiative to improve the efficiency and quality of clinical trials in Canada. 3CTN will provide support and coordination for a network of teams at cancer treatment centres and hospitals. With regional participation, 3CTN developed and is now implementing a business plan to enable sites to increase their capacity and capability to conduct academic trials.
The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (Global Alliance) was formed to help accelerate the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health. It brings together over 300 leading institutions working in healthcare, research, disease advocacy, life science, and information technology. The partners in the Global Alliance are working together to create a common framework of harmonized approaches to enable the responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and clinical data.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has been organized to launch and coordinate a large number of research projects that have the common aim of elucidating comprehensively the genomic changes present in many forms of cancers that contribute to the burden of disease in people throughout the world.
The primary goals of the ICGC are to generate comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities (somatic mutations, abnormal expression of genes,epigenetic modifications) in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes which are of clinical and societal importance across the globe and make the data available to the entire research community as rapidly as possible, and with minimal restrictions, to accelerate research into the causes and control of cancer. The ICGC facilitates communication among the members and provides a forum for coordination with the objective of maximizing efficiency among the scientists working to understand, treat, and prevent these diseases.
Within the context of massive international sequencing efforts, and in anticipation of the new era of precision medicine, ICGCmed will link the wealth of genomic data already amassed, as well as new genomic data being generated, to clinical and health information, including lifestyle, patient history, cancer diagnostic data, and response to and survival following to therapies, across the cancer spectrum. Using this large-scale integrated data, researchers, scientists, policymakers and clinicians will be able to work with patients, healthcare providers and others to develop preventative strategies, markers for early detection of disease, more specific criteria and methods for diagnoses and prognoses, and interventions based on matching the patient’s disease molecular subtype with the most effective combinations of therapies.
This will lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets, more precise disease definitions and improved strategies to prevent drug resistance.
Research ethics review is vital to the advancement of ethically sound research. Before individuals can be enrolled in a clinical study, the research must be approved by a research ethics board (REB), an independent committee composed of medical and scientific experts, ethicists, researchers and healthcare professionals, as well as non-scientific members such as legal and privacy experts and members representing the community. The REB’s role is to ensure that the proposed research adequately protects the rights, safety and well-being of the research participants. Prior to 2004, for sponsors and researchers conducting cancer clinical trials at multiple sites, gaining REB approval under the traditional institutional REB model was often a long and tedious process.
Since January 2004, the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB) has radically changed the research ethics environment for multi-centre cancer trials. OCREB is an expert central oncology REB now serving 26 of 27 hospitals in the province that conduct cancer clinical trials. OCREB’s centralized model means that once a study has been approved by OCREB, additional study sites can receive OCREB approval within days. This minimizes redundancy and saves the time and cost of having the study reviewed by an REB at every participating institution.
Throughout its growth and evolution, OCREB's prime concern has always been to protect the rights and safety of study participants; at the same time, it encourages and supports the research that ultimately will help those with cancer.
The Ontario Tumour Bank is a province-wide biorepository and data bank focused on collection of tumour-related human biospecimens. It provides academic and industry cancer researchers with a diverse selection of high quality tumour-related specimens and data obtained directly by dedicated tumour bank staff, who follow a stringent set of procedures and ethical guidelines.
The Ontario Tumour Bank is a program of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Funded by the Government of Ontario, OICR is a not-for-profit corporation that supports research on the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and control of cancer.