KGH researchers working to develop
new prostate cancer test
2012 Aug 21
Men with prostate cancer could soon know precisely how serious their disease is - and how aggressively to treat it - the moment they are diagnosed, thanks to a new team of researchers at KGH.
"We hope to create a test so accurate that patients don't need to consider surgery or radiation unless it's really needed," says Jeremy Squire, Research Chair in Molecular Pathology at KGH and Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen's University.
Squire heads up the research team along
with recent recruits Paul Park and Paulo
Nuin, both adjunct assistant professors. As
members of the newly formed Canadian
Prostate Cancer Biomarker Network
(CPCBN), they are joining investigators from
across the country who are working to create
a test that could augment - or altogether
replace - the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
test currently used.
And thanks to a recent $4 million
funding boost to the network via the Terry
Fox Research Institute and the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, a new test
could be close at hand.
Adding further momentum, Nuin
and Park have secured two grants
amounting to $300,000 from the Prostate
Cancer Canada Pilot Grants for Young
Investigators. The funding will go a long
way to "creating significant research
discoveries at KGH", says Squire.
So why is a new test needed? Squire
says it comes down to the PSA test’s
sensitivity. "The PSA test will detect even
the most benign cases," he says. "That
can lead to over-treatment, which is a
problem especially in the case of elderly
men in whom treatment could cause
more damage than the cancer."
Unlike the PSA blood test, the
KGH team plan to develop a test that
examines tissue from the tumour itself.
"Our test would give a precise risk. So,
in many cases, doctors would be able
to tell patients that they’ll be fine to live
their life without undergoing further
treatment," says Squire.
As part of CPCBN, researchers
will share clinical samples acquired
at KGH with members across the
Their inclusion is an important
step for KGH, says Squire.
"I've spent three years to ensure
we were part of this," he says. "With
KGH’s access to a large cohort across
Canada, we can design studies that will
have national prominence statistically."
The team is optimistic about how
quickly they can develop the test. "If
you’d asked me before, I would have
said within five to ten years," says
Squire. "Now, I’d say five."
That timeframe is paramount
because aging baby boomers will need
the test the most, he says.
"Our aging population is a great
concern. But we hope to move from
discovery to application very quickly."
Above all, the new biomarker
test would allow physicians to create
a truly patient-centered treatment
plan. "Treatment could be tailored to
the type of tumour a patient has while
taking into consideration his age,"
says Squire. "Now that’s personalized
Dr. M. Daria Haust was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
2012 August 14
Dr. M. Daria Haust was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
of the Governor General of Canada at a special presentation ceremony of the
Diamond Jubilee Gala, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, on June 18th, 2012.
A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
During the year of celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians will be recognized.
The Chancellery of Honours, as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal program.
Dr. David Good
2012 July 03
Welcome to new Faculty member
Dr. David Good, Hematopathologist, Assistant Professor
Dr. Good will be taking up residence in Richardson Labs Room 201C.
CACB Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession of Clinical Biochemistry
Sponsored by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics
2012 June 11
Dr. Christine Collier, Service Chief for Clinical Chemistry at Kingston General Hospital and consultant Clinical Biochemist at Belleville General Hospital is the 2012 recipient of this award “in recognition of her multitude of accomplishments that have advanced the field of Clinical Biochemistry in Canada in the past 24 years”.
Dr. Collier’s current service and research interests include cardiac markers, chronic kidney disease and eGFR, protein electrophoresis, testosterone in hypogonadism, and the importance of biological variation and measurement uncertainty in test interpretation. At Queen’s she has been involved in TIPS (Teaching Improvement Project System), PBL and medical school admissions for many years, and she served three years as the Phase II coordinator for undergraduate Medicine. Dr. Collier has been a member of Ontario’s QMPLS General Chemistry Committee, President of the OSCC and Chair of Upstate New York section of the AACC, and on the IATDMCT. She runs the listservs for the CSCC, OSCC and IATDMCT. She helped coordinate implementation of eGFR reporting in Ontario and across Canada, revamped the CSCC CE program into the Professional Development program, and for the last 5 years has co-coordinated the bimonthly CSCC Education Roundtable webinars, which reach 200+ people at 30+ sites.
Dr. Collier received the CSCC Award for Education Excellence in 2000 and 2004, the Canadian Association of Medical Education’s Certificate of Merit in 2005, the OSCC Award for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Chemistry in 2006, the CSCC Grant for Leadership and/or Administration in 2007 and 2008, and the Upstate New York AACC Somogyi-Sendroy Award in 2008. She is currently studying part-time for a Masters in Community Health and Epidemiology at Queen’s University.
Decreasing Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence Aided by Good Bone Health
2012 June 11
Good bone health may also be a step towards preventing recurrence of breast cancer, according to results from an exploratory study led by the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) located at Queen's University.
"Results of the study suggest that preventing this deterioration in bone health by using commonly-used therapeutics known as bisphosphonates may have an additional positive effect in decreasing the risk of breast cancer recurrence", says Lois Shepherd, Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen's University, physician coordinator at the NCIC Clinical Trials Group and a pathologist at Kingston General Hospital.
Dr. Xiaolong Yang has received a three-year research
grant from Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF)
2012 May 03
Dr. Xiaolong Yang has received $449,100 for a three-year research
grant from Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) to study the roles of several novel genes in chemotherapeutic drug resistance of
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women
worldwide and is responsible for one third of all cancer deaths of
women in Canada. One of the difficulties encountered in breast cancer
therapy is that breast cancer patients are usually either
intrinsically resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs or acquire
resistance after initial treatment, which results in cancer recurrent
following primary chemotherapy. The research findings from this
project will not only has the potential to significantly advance our
understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying drug resistance
but also has great implication for the future development of novel
therapeutic drugs for the successful treatment of drug-resistant
breast cancer patients.
2012 March 27
Are you a student looking for a PATH499 or CANC499 supervisor & Lab for 2012-2013?
** Go here to see the list of faculty **, with their research interests and contact information, *possibly* taking 4th year students. Please contact them directly.
Posted 2012 April 11
Dr. Stacy Visser-Grieve is on a roll! She recently won a Fellowship Award from the Terry Fox Foundation -CIHR Training Program in Transdisciplinary Cancer Research and now she has won a prestigious Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation of $142,500 over three years. These awards will allow her to pursue a project entitled "Identifying substrates of the calpain protease system and elucidating calpain's role in the cancer cell signalling network". This will be carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Greer in the Queen's Cancer Research Institute in the context of his Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded research project investigating calpain proteases as potential therapeutic targets in breast cancer. Stacy's project will include innovative protein structure-function and mass spectrometry-based proteomic methods to identify novel calpain targets, as well as transgenic mouse and cell models to elucidate the molecular roles of calpain in cancer cells. This work will be carried out in collaboration with Drs. Zongchao Jia and Steve Smith.
Stacy is a recent graduate of the Pathology and Molecular Medicine PhD program where she trained with Dr. Xiaolong Yang and published several outstanding papers on the LATS tumor suppressor. We are delighted that her outstanding potential as a cancer researcher has now been recognized by the CBCF, and that we have the opportunity to see her take the next steps in her development as a future independent breast cancer researcher.
2012 March 19
Dr. Surtaj Iram - ABC2012 Young Investigator Award
Dr. Surtaj Iram, a postdoc in Dr. Susan Cole's laboratory, won a "ABC2012 Young Investigator Award" at the recent Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) meeting in Innsbruck March 8th!
This is a very prestigious competitive award because this biannual meeting (4th FEBS Special Meeting on ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) Proteins) is the top international meeting in the field. There is a cash prize that accompanied this award. So you can see that Surtaj's success at the recent Resident/Post doc Day is now reflected internationally.
Roger G. Deeley reappointed Vice-Dean Research in the Faculty of
Health Sciences and Vice President Health Sciences Research at
Kingston General Hospital
Posted 2012 February 07
Roger Deeley has been reappointed as Vice-Dean Research in the Faculty
of Health Sciences at Queen's University and Vice President Health
Sciences Research at Kingston General Hospital and for the Kingston
teaching hospitals for a second five-year term commencing January 1,
These appointments are announced by Dr. Alan Harrison, Provost
and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen's University, and Ms. Leslee
Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer at Kingston General
Following ten years with the National Cancer Institute at the National
Institutes of Health in the United States, Dr. Deeley came to Queen's
University in 1980. He was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1984
and in 1987 he was appointed as the first holder of the Joseph S.
Stauffer Chair and as Director of the Cancer Research Laboratories. He
served as Director of the Division of Research for Cancer Care Ontario
from 1988 to 2007 and since 2003 he has also been the Director of
Queen's Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Deeley has held the joint
position of Vice-Dean Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences and
Vice President Health Sciences Research at Kingston General Hospital
since 2007. Dr. Deeley is a member of the Department of Pathology and
Molecular Medicine with cross-appointments in the Department of
Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the Department of Oncology.
Dr. Deeley has maintained an active, internationally recognized
research program that has been continuously funded from sources such
as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Cancer
Institute of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and
industry. He has also been responsible for developing a number of
major research initiatives, which together with his own research
program, have garnered over $32M in funding. Dr. Deeley has extensive
experience with research funding agencies and he has been involved in
both provincial and national cancer control research agendas. Over the
course of his career, Dr. Deeley has published numerous peer-reviewed
research papers, reviews and book chapters, and he is also co-inventor
on a number of patents related to the discovery of the multi-drug
resistance protein, MRP1. Dr. Deeley was co-recipient in 2005 of the
Robert L. Noble Prize presented jointly by the National Cancer
Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society, and in 2007 he
was the recipient of the National Cancer Institute of Canada's Diamond
Jubilee Award for outstanding contributions to cancer research.
posted: 2012 January 30
Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, killing 1.2 million
people annually. Therefore, identification of genes responsible for
lung cancer development is crucial for its successful therapies. Dr.
Yang's lab has recently discovered TAZ, a major component of an
emerging Hippo signaling pathway, as a novel gene causing lung cancer.
In this research project, Dr. Yang will further explore how TAZ and
other components of the Hippo signaling pathway contribute to lung
cancer development and progression using human lung cancer cell lines,
mouse model, and clinical cancer patient tissues. The research
findings from this research project will finally identified a new
pathway critical for lung cancer development and will have great
implications for the future diagnosis and therapy of lung cancer.
Aperio/Spectrum system updated
2011 May 19
The Department's Aperio/Spectrum system was massively upgraded and now sports a newer, faster
web server along with updated versions of the Spectrum web service. Check it out at
Hundreds of world class researchers have helped KGH carve out a reputation as a national and global leader ion patient-porinted research.
Everyone will have a chance to learn more about just what they are discovering and creating at our inaugural Research Showcase.
The Showcase is also a step toward realizing the KGH 2015 strategic goal of cultivating an environment that will help strengthen the hospital's reputation as a hub of patient-oriented clinical research.
Dr. Jeremy Squire, KGH's first ever Research Chair in Molecular Pathology, will deliver the keynote address, sharing his insights into taking research discoveries from the prostate cancer genome into clinical practice. The showcase will also include tours of research facilities and oral and poster presentations from dozens of KGH research teams. The free event is open to all KGH staff, members of the regional research community and the general public.
9:00-5:30 KGH Research Showcase Queen's Etherington Hall & Richardson Amphitheatre
9:00 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jeremy Squire
"Taking research discoveries from the prostate cancer genome into clinical practice."
Etherington Hall Auditorium
Transdisciplinary Training Program - Cancer Research Institute
2011 March 04
For PhD candidates Jess Cockburn and Vikki Ho, the reasons for taking an interdisciplinary approach
to research are clear. “Aside from the innate fact that this is where all research is going, I think
everyone is starting to realize that we can learn a lot more if we work together in a group setting,”
explains Cockburn. “I think we’re more efficient and resourceful working as a team,” adds Ho.
Both Ho and Cockburn are part of the the Queen’s University Terry Fox Foundation Traning Program in Transdisciplinary
Cancer Research in Canada, housed within the university’s Cancer Research Institute. The program gives graduate students
and post-doctoral fellows a chance to work with researchers in different disciplines within cancer research. Cockburn explains
that while the program is open to anyone doing cancer research, “you have to demonstrate that your research is truly
Researchers awarded $850,000 for five projects
2011 January 21
Queen's University researchers have received $848,828 from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for five projects that range from studying how drugs are dispersed through the body to finding a better way to assess the condition of Canada's deteriorating infrastructure.
Susan Cole (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) leads a team that received $400,000 to purchase a state-of-the-art mass spectrometer that will be housed in Chernoff Hall and managed by the newly formed Queen's Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Unit (QMSPU).
Civil Engineering professor Neil Hoult.
"We will be purchasing a machine that will be the envy of other universities and an important instrument for a significant number of Queen's researchers," says Dr. Cole, who is also Queen's Deputy Provost.
Tom Massey (Pharmacology and Toxicology) and Richard Oleschuk (Chemistry) were co-lead investigators with Dr. Cole on the grant proposal. All three will use the new machine with various projects.
Dr. Cole researches drug resistance and how drugs are distributed within the body, focusing on what proteins are key to regulating those processes.
"Two individuals can respond very differently to the same drug. We want to know how drugs interact with proteins that carry the drugs into and out of cells. These transporter proteins are much larger than the drugs they carry so we'd like to know where these drugs bind on the proteins - that's a key question we've been trying to address by other, non-direct methodologies. This new machine will allow us to obtain direct evidence that is extremely precise" says Dr. Cole.
For more information, see the CFI website.
2011 January 07
The primary expectation of the successful appointee will be to develop an innovative research program in molecular pathology that will assist in the understanding of molecular and cellular aspects of cancer, leading to better diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
2010 October 20
The top 5 abstracts submitted by Junior Members of the College of American Patho
to the CAP'10 meeting were recognized during ceremonies held at the meeting.
Second Place ($1,000 award): The Prognostic Value of MicroRNAs in Low-Risk Endom
Jamie Snowdon, MD; Xiao Zhang, MSc; Victor Tron, MD; Tim Childs, PhD.
2010 August 10
Kingston, ON -- A team of Queen’s University researchers has received $450,000 to study a gene mutation common to breast cancer patients. The three-year funding supports research aimed at developing an inexpensive diagnostic tool for identifying individuals with the gene mutation.
“In the long term, we hope to identify people early who are at risk of developing breast cancer – before they get cancer – so they have the best possible surveillance and treatment options,” says Scott Davey.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation funding will continue a collaborative project between Dr. Davey and Dr. Harriet Feilotter, both members of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and the Cancer Research Institute.
The problem lies in BRCA1, a human tumor suppressor gene. Inheriting a damaged BRCA1 gene sets off a series of events that leads to an individual developing cancer. BRCA1 carriers develop tumors that present earlier and are more aggressive than other forms of breast cancer.
“In the first phase of the study, we were able to detect changes in gene expression patterns that distinguish people with BRCA1 mutations from those with no apparent mutation," says Dr. Davey. "The second round of funding will allow us to validate and extend this work, hopefully leading to both a better understanding of BRCA1 function, and an improved method for identifying individuals that carry the gene mutations.”
Using fresh blood cells from patients, the research team will try to nail down the actual function of BRCA1 to determine exactly how it inhibits cancer.
2010 July 27
A truly integrated approach to healthcare combines scientific research and clinical medicine to provide the best possible service for patients. Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen's has been a leader in adopting this model to meet healthcare needs in Kingston and throughout Southeastern Ontario.
"The department is exceptional in that it sits at the interface between basic health science research and the clinical departments," says Vice-Dean, Research and Stauffer Professor of Basic Oncology Roger Deeley, who is also Vice President of Health Sciences Research at Kingston General Hospital (KGH).
The department recognized this special role earlier than its counterparts elsewhere in Canada, and embraced it to a greater extent, so department members are now a mix of medical doctors and PhD researchers working together to meet broad healthcare needs.
"There is no point in doing research if we can't turn it into something useful for the patient," says Victor Tron, head of Queen's Pathology and Molecular Medicine and KGH Laboratories. "We use our scientific and clinical research extensively with patients. It's an important part of the culture of our department."
Faculty members play a vital role in clinical care by providing diagnostic laboratory services and engaging in direct patient care through integration with the KGH Clinical Laboratory Services Program.
"A patient can't move through the health care system until they've been diagnosed, and that's where we come in," adds Dr. Tron. "We have ongoing collaboration with other physicians. They are the quarterbacks and we're the rest of the team in the background working together to serve the patient."
They also deliver laboratory medicine services to hospitals throughout the region. Faculty members assist with blood work, cancer diagnoses, infectious disease diagnoses, and autopsies. They perform genetic testing and use their innovative laboratory research to help them achieve the most accurate diagnoses possible.
And faculty members are active teachers at the university, bringing their collaborative approach into the classroom.
"For example, if we're discussing a genetic disorder for skin cancer, I would talk about the clinical aspects of the disease and a biochemist would talk about the research aspect. It's a way for the students to see our collaborative process at work," says Dr. Tron.
"I think it's a model that we should aspire to in other areas of health research," adds Dr. Deeley. "The fact that four pathology and molecular medicine faculty hold named research chairs speaks for itself."
The department is home to over 50 Queen's scientists and clinical physicians as well as 15 cross-appointed professors. The researchers collaborate to produce world-renowned work focusing on everything from cytogenetics to infectious diseases to anatomic pathology, all with a single goal—improving patient outcomes.
For more information on the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, visit their new website at www.path.queensu.ca.
2010 July 27
Peter Greer (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) has received $1.6 million for two research projects aimed at developing new treatments to slow tumour growth in breast cancer.
"We have been working on these projects for several years and are delighted that both grants were renewed in the last Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) competition," says Dr. Greer.
The researchers in Dr. Greer's lab are looking at the impact of two enzymes – Fer and calpain – on tumour growth.
In previous studies at Queen's Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Greer and his research team have shown that inhibiting these enzymes slows cancer growth. Further research is aimed at a deeper understanding of how Fer and calpain contribute to causing tumours, and at developing new drugs to target the enzymes in cancer treatment.
Fer regulates cellular functions by adding phosphates to proteins to affect their functions, and calpain regulates cell behaviour by splitting proteins into smaller peptides.
"There are exciting new technologies and huge amounts of knowledge coming down the pipe that are revealing the biological complexities of cancer at a much more sophisticated level," says Dr. Greer. "I hope to see some of the work we have done contribute to that further understanding of cancer and to improved treatments for breast and other cancer in the future."
Cancer is a disease of gene mutations. The challenge for cancer biologists is to determine how gene products, and in some cases mutant versions of them, interact in ways that control cancer cell survival and production, as well as migration and invasion properties leading to the spread of disease.
2010 July 27
Drs. James and Lillicrap presented and/or chaired five oral sessions involving the genetic analysis of inherited
bleeding disorders, the use of animal models to evaluate clotting factor immunogenicity and the development of
gene transfer strategies for hemophilia.
In addition, several posters from the group were also displayed at
the meeting, and Amrit Kahlon, a Queen's hematology fellow, attended the meeting to present her results
on peri-operative levels of factor VIII and VWF.
Finally, Dr. Lillicrap, a current member of the
Medical Advisory Board of WFH, has been appointed as the Chair of the new Research Committee
of the Federation, and there are plans to launch a new international inherited bleeding disorder
research program at the 50th anniversary meeting of WFH in 2012.
2010 July 7
Three Pathology and Molecular Medicine residency trainees have been awarded prestigious PSI Foundation Research Prizes.
Dr Alanna Church’s examined the role of fibrosis as a prognostic factor in Hodgkin’s Disease. Dr Church worked with Dr David Lebrun, a clinician scientist Anatomical Pathologist in the Department.
Dr Jaime Snowdon used profiling of small non-coding RNA molecules, microRNAs, to examine their utility to diagnosis bladder cancer in the urine of patients at risk. This work was lead by Dr Boag, the Service Chief of Anatomical Pathology at Queen’s.
Finally, Dr Paul Masry implemented a novel cloning sequencing technique to profile a rare and poorly understood skin tumor called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. The work was done under the supervision of Dr Victor Tron, Head of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen’s University, in collaboration with Dr Tom Tuschl at Rockefeller University.
The residency program values and encourages resident research, and is very pleased that the above three physicians are being recognized for their valued contributions.
2010 July 02
Dr. Greer was impressive in obtaining two major five awards for a total of 1.6 million dollars. One grant is focused on the calpain, a potential target in breast cancer. While the second award, furthers Dr. Greer’s interest in the oncogene, fer. Dr. Susan Cole was awarded 663K over five years to further her studies on the role of the transporter, ABCC4.