2017 Research Investments


2017 marked our first year investing in the most cutting-edge research from coast to coast under our PancOneā„¢ research network. We focused our research investments to what was going to make the biggest impact on the research landscape and help more patients live longer, healthier lives. As a result, we funded two major studies that would help us understand more about pancreatic cancer tumours, as researchers were discovering different subtypes in the genetic signatures of each patient. By identifying pancreatic cancer subtypes and how they respond to different therapies, doctors and researchers can better identify the course of treatment that would lead to the greatest chances of longer life and, ultimately, survival.



Dr. Jennifer Knox & Dr. Steve Gallinger, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (ON)

COMPASS involves comprehensive, real time genomic analysis of advanced PDAC (metastatic and locally advanced) tumours, using the whole genome and RNA sequencing for a clinically meaningful turn around time. This means any genetic discoveries that may be found have the potential to impact treatment decisions for participating patients, increasing their eligibility for clinical trials and finding the best treatment for their subtype.

Participating Centres and Site Leaders

  • Dr. George Zogopoulus, McGill University Health Centre (Quebec)
  • Dr. Jim Biagi, Kingston General Hospital (Ontario)


Dr. Dan Renouf, BC Cancer Agency (BC)

Similar to COMPASS, the PanGen study involves sequencing patient tumour biopsies to discover subtypes. Researchers then analyze the tumours to look for specific molecular signatures, making some patients eligible for clinical trials, finding the best treatment, and ultimately helping us learn more about this disease.

Participating Centres and Site Leaders

  • Dr. Patricia Tang, Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Alberta)
  • Dr. Rachel Goodwin, The Ottawa Hospital (Ontario)

Oncolytic Virus Study

Dr. Rebecca Auer, The Ottawa Hospital (ON)

In 2017 we fulfilled the second year of our investment in this study in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital and the Canadian Cancer Society. Dr Auer developed a vaccine containing oncolytic (or cancer-killing) viruses intended to outsmart cancer cells, which often trick the immune system and escape detection. Oncolytic viruses are designed to safely travel through the body to seek out and destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact. At the same time, the viruses can be engineered to strengthen the immune system to mount a powerful attack on cancer cells.

This study was funded in 2016 and 2017 in cooperation with Canadian Cancer Society as a CCS Innovation to Impact Grant.