Call for an Ontario Health Data Ecosystem [Report]

November 2, 2015

With support from the Data for Health Advisory Group and the OPMN, Ontario Genomics has released the” Call for an Ontario Health Data Ecosystem” report to investigate affordable and feasible mechanisms for Ontario to remain competitive with global benchmarks in the emerging age of data-driven medicine and research. This paper’s ultimate recommendation is a call for an enabling mechanism–the formation of a health data coalition. This coalition would consist of leading organizations across the research and clinical data continuum, as well as the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, with the aim to develop some foundational data sharing policies to facilitate the exchange of data assets.

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Understanding cancer causing cells

September 22, 2015

Every organ and type of tissue in the body contains a small number of what scientists call “adult” or “tissue” stem cells. Since most cells in the body live for just a short time, the body needs to keep making new cells to replace them. Adult stem cells ensure a continuous supply of new cells…

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Investigating genome-environment interactions in diabetes

September 22, 2015

Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce insulin, resulting in glucose accumulation in the blood instead of being used for energy. The Challenge Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a complex disease often arising in childhood in which the immune system destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Insulin…

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Autism: Genomes to outcomes

September 18, 2015

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. The Challenge Autism is one of the world’s most urgent public health challenges Around one in 120 newborns is likely to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making it more common…

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Finding the cause of rare diseases

September 18, 2015

The Challenge Genetic diseases, while often rare, have, in aggregate, an enormous impact on the well-being of Canadian families, affecting the lives of approximately 500,000 children. The majority of genes causing these conditions are still unknown. These parents go through cycles of treatment and cost the health care system an inordinate amount of money considering…

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First ever use of pharmacogenomics in primary care

August 22, 2015

One in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Assurex Health is partnering with scientists at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to develop the Enhanced GeneSight genomic test to better match patients with mental illness to antidepressant and antipsychotic medication based on their genes. They will validate new genomic markers that scientists at CAMH have identified for their ability to predict efficacy and side effects of psychiatric medications; the most predictive markers will be integrated into E-GeneSight. This is anticipated to reduce the need for “trial-and-error” approaches to prescribing and increase the likelihood that people will respond optimally to the medications prescribed for them, while reducing side effects.

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Three OG seeded companies get additional funding

August 17, 2015

InDanio Bioscience, Encycle Therapeautics made new research partnerships for research and drug development and RNA Diagnostics received angel investment. Two SMEs, InDanio Bioscience and Encycle Therapeautics will partner with Toronto researchers and provide in-kind contributions to the $1.5M funding by CQDM and CIHR, through its institutes of Cancer Research, Genetics and Infection and Immunity medicine,…

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Developing diverse chemical libraries

August 1, 2015

Synthetic chemical libraries are a common source of drug discovery molecules. The challenge is that these libraries adhere to synthetic structures and biological activities. With the help of Ontario Genomics’ SPARK program, Drs. Nambara, McCourt and Bonetta are exposing synthesized chemical libraries to a plethora of plant enzymes using plant genomics resources to increase the diversity of these compounds exponentially, and find new functions. This will create libraries of chemical compounds for industrial uses, and increase their diversity.

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Understanding individual microbiomes

June 12, 2015

The more than 1,000 different species of bacteria that colonize our gastrointestinal tract are collectively known as our microbiome. Dr. Daniel Figeys and Dr. Alain Stintzi of the University of Ottawa are developing RapidAIM, a high-throughput assay of individual microbiomes, to gain information on how drugs affect the microbiome in our GI tract, and vice versa. The team will also develop a computational program that will combine and analyze these results, to better predict drug efficacy and clinical outcomes.

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Proof of principle for anticancer therapeutic

June 1, 2015

Formation Biologics Inc. (formerly AvidBiologics) is an oncology drug development company dedicated to anti-cancer biologics. With Ontario Genomics’ PBDF investment, the company aims to develop AVID200, a novel anticancer agent targeting a protein expressed by a variety of solid tumours including lung, breast, and head and neck. This type of cancer therapeutic has the potential for superior safety and efficacy compared to older generation treatments.

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