researchers in a lab

Research

Collaborative Research Seed Grant Competition

This yearly competition supports meritorious projects, which have the potential to significantly impact the science of radiation medicine and improve patient outcome. Two $50,000 grants are awarded yearly. 

Grant Details

This grant is awarded to UTDRO faculty members at the five affiliated cancer centres:

  • Odette Cancer Centre (OCC)
  • Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM)
  • Stronach Regional Cancer Centre
  • Carlo Fidani Peel Regional Cancer Centre (Trillium Health Partners)
  • Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre

One competition is held every year and two seed-grants of $50,000 are awarded in each competition. Applications from all areas and disciplines of radiation medicine are encouraged. The grants may be used to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, salaries (but not UTDRO faculty salaries) and equipment associatedwith the proposed work.

Funded Projects

The following projects have been successfully funded by the UTDRO Seed Grant.

YEAR AWARDED TO PROJECT TITLE
2020 - Fall Chia-Lin (Eric) Tseng (PI)
Melanie Davidson (OCC)
Adam Gladwish (RVH)
Joelle Helou (Princess Margaret)
Stanley Liu (OCC)
Andrew Loblaw (OCC)
Danny Vesprini (OCC)
Jasper Yuen (CVH)
Post-Prostatectomy Linac-Based Ultrahypofractionated Radiotherapy for Patients with Localized Prostate Cancer. A Treatment Feasibility and Outcomes Multicenter Study (PLUTO-MPC).
2020 - Fall Srinivas Raman (PI)
Anthony Brade (CVH)
Patrick Cheung (OCC)
Tatiana Conrad (Southlake)
Jennifer Croke (Princess Margaret)
Andrew Hope (Princess Margaret)
Geoffrey Liu (Princess Margaret)
Alexander Louie (OCC)
Philip Wong (Princess Margaret)
Frederick Yoon (RVH)
Robert Wu (Toronto General)
Integrated Use of Wearable Diagnostics in Lung Cancer
2020 - Spring Eric Leung (OCC)
Toni Barnes (OCC)
Patrick Cheung (OCC)
Melanie Davidson (OCC)
Elysia Donovan (OCC)
Anthony Fyles (UHN)
Adam Gladwish (RVH)
Kathy Han (UHN)
Andrew Loblaw (OCC)
Julia Skilarenko (RVH)
Amandeep Taggar (OCC)
Jasper Yuen (CVH)
SPARTACUS II – A Randomized Phase II Feasibility Trial on Hypofractionated Radiation versus Conventional Fractionation in Endometrial Cancers
2019 Jessica Conway (Simcoe Muskoka)
Jennifer Croke (PM)
Adam Gladwish (RVH)
Eric Leung (OCC)
Alexander Louie (OCC)
Sarah Rauth (CVH)
Patient-Reported Financial Toxicity in Cervical Cancer Survivors Treated with Definitive Chemo-Radiation
2019 Tatiana Conrad (Southlake)
Luluel Khan (CVH)
David Shultz (UHN)
Derek Tsang (UHN)
Tiffany Tam (RVH)
Development of a Decision Aid for Patients with Extensive Brain Metastases – A
Collaborative Study
2018 Beibei Zhang (Southlake)
Charles Cho (Southlake)
Timothy Craig (PM)
Danny Vesprini (OCC)
Melanie Davidson (OCC)
Reducing Acute Rectal Toxicity for Hypofractionated Prostate Radiotherapy – An Multi-institution Investigation of Reduced PTV Margin
2018 Jennifer Croke (PM)
Meredith Giuliani (PM)
Janet Papadakos (UHN)
Sarah Rauth (Trillium)
Julia Skliarenko (Royal Victoria)
Tina Papadakos (PM)
Development and implementation of a brachytherapy discharge education program to build healthcare provider patient teaching competency toward improving patient engagement and quality of care
2017 Joelle Helou (PM)
Christiaan Stevens (Royal Victoria)
Charles Catton (PM)
Antonio Finelli (PM)
Laura Dawson (PM)
Abhijat Kitchlu (Toronto General Hospital)
Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy for Renal Tumors
2015 Marco Carlone (PM)
Nicole Harnett (PM)
SIMAC Software Assessment
2015 Jennifer Croke (PM)
Lisa Barbera (OCC)
Eric Leung (OCC)
Matthew Follwell (OCC)
Doris Howell (OCC)
Helen MacKay (OCC)
Feasibility and Acceptability of Measuring Cervical Cancer Specific Patient-Reported Outcomes in Clinical Practice
2014 Marianne Koritzinsky (PM)
Shun Wong (OCC)
Juhu Kamra (Simcoe Muskoka)
Metformin with neoadjuvant chemoradiation to improve pathologic responses in rectal cancer: a phase I-II trial.
2014 Brad Wouters (PM)
Ian Poon (OCC)
Jason Wong (Stronach)
FAZA PET
2014 Kathy Han (PM)
Scott Bratman (PM)
Eric Leung (OCC)
Circulating HPV DNA in Patients with Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer Treated with Definitive Chemoradiation

2013

Caroline Chung (PM)
May Tsao (OCC)
Jason Wong (Stronach)

The Toronto Brief Neurocognitive Battery (BNB) Development of a novel brief telephone battery for neurocognitive assessment of patients with brain metastases

2013

Tom Purdie (PM)
Mark Ruschin (OCC)
Beibei Zhang (Stronach)

Prospective Collection of Tolerance Outcomes in Women receiving Breast Cancer Radiotherapy: A Multi-Institutional Initiative

Research Areas

A large group of the faculty is engaged in a number of comprehensive research programs ranging from the basic laboratory radiation research, through a rich translational research programs focused on linking laboratory with the clinic and the translation of the advances in technology to the clinic.

A full clinical research program that includes clinical trials complement these efforts and is supplemented by a growing population based research initiatives.

Translational Biology Research

Activities are focused on the influence of tumour microenvironment and molecular genetics on tumour responses and outcome. There is extensive collaboration between the Department and the Departments of Medical Biophysics, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

The major programs are focused on:

  • gynecological
  • prostate
  • breast cancer
  • head and neck cancer

The most well-established programs are:

  • Tumour hypoxia using cervix cancer as a model (Dr. Fyles)
  • Role of PTEN tumor suppressor gene in endometrial cancer (Dr. Fyles)
  • Genetic (Dr. Bristow) and micro-environmental determinants (Dr. Milosevic) of prostate cancer radioresistance and metastasis
  • Molecular pathologic prognostic markers (Dr. Liu) and molecular imaging of breast cancer
  • Molecular genetics of head and neck cancer (Drs. Mackenzie and Kim)

Technology

Medical Physics research at PMH and OCC is in the general area of image guided precision radiation therapy. There is strong collaboration between medical physicists, radiation therapists, and radiation oncologists within the department.

Several novel technology-based clinical programs and clinical trials have been established including:

  • conformal radiotherapy
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • HDR
  • prostate brachytherapy
  • target and organ definition and motion

At PMH, technology research is driven by Dr. David Jaffray, one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 for 2004, and one of the top 10 Best of the Best in Medical Imaging.

Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the principal type of research undertaken by the Department. Current clinical research activities are primarily site-based, although they can also be grouped under the general thematic areas of combined modality, fractionation, quality of life, organ preservation, tumour staging etc.

Clinical trials are conducted in:

  • Brain tumours
  • Breast cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Endocrine tumours
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Genitourinary cancer
  • Gynecological cancer
  • Lymphoma/leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Palliative oncology
  • Pediatric tumours
  • Sarcomas
  • Skin cancer

Health Services

Health services research activities have continued to grow. Several faculty members are cross appointed to the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) or  the Department of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation including Drs. Bezjak, Hodgson, Paszat, Rakovitch, Wong, Ringash and Wiljer.

Examples of health services research are:

  • Myocardial infarction after radiotherapy for breast cancer (Dr. Paszat)
  • Processes and outcomes of care for soft tissue sarcoma of the extremity (Dr. Paszat)
  • Surveillance mammography following treatment of primary breast cancer (Dr. Paszat)
  • Population-based assessment of patterns of care of DCIS in Ontario (Dr. Rakovitch)

Education

The emphasis of current research is on the evaluation of residents and faculty, faculty development, and distance education for radiation therapists.

Research Facilities

Our two primary teaching hospitals – Odette Cancer Centre (OCC) and The Princess Margaret (PM) – rank among the largest and most progressive cancer care facilities in North America.

Their respective Radiation Medicine Programs, which encompass the Departments of Radiation Therapy, Radiation Oncology and Radiation Physics, boast some of the most advanced technologies and treat a volume and variety of patients that is among the highest on the continent.

Combined, they employ over 60 radiation oncologists, more than 50 radiation physicists and 300 radiation therapists, many who are internationally known for their work in radiation medicine.

Both facilities are well equipped to support modern 3D radiation treatment planning with Pinnacle treatment planning terminals, high-energy photon and electron radiation treatment, total body irradiation, stereotactic radiation therapy and radiosurgery, conformal, intensity-modulated and image-guided radiation therapy, and LDR and HDR brachytherapy.

Our department is also affiliated with several U of T Teaching Hospitals located in the Toronto area. 

Odette Cancer Centre

Overview

The OCC, a comprehensive cancer program at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC), is one of the largest cancer treatment and research facilities in North America.
OCC operates programs in:

  • radiation treatment
  • medical oncology
  • surgical oncology
  • prevention
  • palliative care

The facility

  • sees approximately 10,000 new patients annually for diagnosis and treatment and has over 75,000 patient follow-up visits per year.
  • radiation therapy facility at OCC treats approximately 6000 cancer patients with radiation therapy each year on 13 radiation machines for a total of 120,000 treatment visits annually.

Go to Odette Cancer Centre website

The Princess Margaret

Overview

The Princess Margaret is the largest cancer treatment and research facility in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

The PM operates programs in:

  • radiation oncology
  • surgical oncology
  • medical imaging
  • chemotherapy
  • psychosocial oncology
  • hematology
  • bone marrow transplantation

The Facility

  • accommodates 220 patient beds, 160,000 sq. ft. of research space, and 17 radiation treatment machines in concrete bunkers.
  • serves 10,000 new patients a year seeing about 190,000 outpatients annually for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
  • radiation therapy facility treats over 7500 cancer patients with radiation therapy each year for a total of nearly 110,000 treatment visits annually.

Go to The Princess Margaret website

Our multidisciplinary practice approach and patient-centred care philosophies create the opportunity to define the future best practices in medicine.