Dr. Benjamin Neel, Research Director, Princess Margaret
Dr. Benjamin Neel, Research Director, Princess Margaret, UHN, explains: "this is an important way to power up development and clinical testing of potential new cures for patients."" (Photo: UHN)

Toronto (Dec. 5, 2013) – Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is among the six global cancer centres selected by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a preferred centre of excellence to accelerate translation of research into new therapies for patients. The Princess Margaret is the only Canadian institution chosen.

The Oncology Clinical and Translational Consortium (OCTC) announced today by GSK is a collaborative scientific research network of internationally renowned cancer research centres. The other centres are: Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York; MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston; Gustave Roussy, Paris; Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam; and, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona.

"This is an important way to power up development and clinical testing of potential new cures for patients," said Dr. Benjamin Neel, Research Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network.

"Technology enables us to detect cancer earlier at the molecular level and identify mutations with precision. The next step is translating that knowledge into new drugs and therapies that target exact mutations. This is the potential of personalized cancer medicine; delivering true and lasting cures by customizing treatment for each individual."

Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Medical Director, the Princess Margaret, said: "As a global leader and the largest cancer research centre in Canada, where about 20% of new patients participate in clinical trials, we look forward to collaborating more with our international partners to advance the clinical investigation that will ultimately benefit patients worldwide by providing access to innovative treatments."

In forming the consortium, GSK will gain expertise in preclinical, translational and clinical development of novel anti-cancer therapeutics including kinase inhibitors, targeted therapies and immunotherapies. The consortium members will gain access to GSK's early stage oncology pipeline and opportunities to advance the next generation of novel oncology therapeutics.

Consortium members were selected for their international leadership and expertise in oncology research. Members will ensure operational alignment, collaborating on processes to ensure the highest quality standards for collection of biological samples, as well as conduct of biomarker and clinical research.

"Each OCTC member institution is recognised internationally as a leader in clinical and translational research," said Rafael Amado, Head Oncology R&D at GlaxoSmithKline. "The consortium together with GSK will design and execute research programs in a focused and expeditious way, allowing us to potentially develop new diagnostic tools and medicines to better treat cancer patients.

At the Princess Margaret, a robust clinical trials program is managed through The Robert and Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program with funding support from The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. This is the only non-U.S. site to receive both a Phase I grant and a Phase II contract from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

To read the GSK press release, click here.

About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has achieved an international reputation as a global leader in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top five international cancer research centres, is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. All are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, go to www.theprincessmargaret.ca.

Media Contact

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Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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