Ray Reilly in lab with student

Professor Raymond Reilly, founder of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology, works alongside PhD student Valerie Facca at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Imagine a future without cancer. Led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

Stéphane Angers, associate dean of research at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy is buoyed by the many recent advances in research. “We understand the biology of cancer in ways we never did before,” says Angers whose research group specializes in using CRISPR-Cas9 technologies to screen cancer stem cells and characterize the genes that are essential for tumor growth. “This has led to genuinely promising new categories of treatment including a new therapeutic antibody for pancreatic cancer that will soon enter human clinical trial.”

"We understand the biology of cancer in ways we never did before"

The Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology (CPO) at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy aims to bridge the gap between research discoveries in cancer biology and the development of new molecular diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer and their advancement to first-in-humans clinical trials.

Raymond Reilly, pharmaceutical oncology scientist and Director of the CPO notes that the Centre has assembled more than 170 scientists and trainees to focus their combined skills and efforts on improving the outcome of cancer patients. Research in the CPO is driven by the need to find better ways to detect cancer, select patients for personalized therapies, and develop new molecularly targeted treatments, especially for the most difficult to treat cancers such as pancreatic cancer, metastatic breast cancer and glioblastoma, a type of brain tumour.

“I envision a future in which almost every cancer will be treatable and curable, since through research we will have discovered the treatments that are needed to achieve this great outcome” said Reilly.

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