The latest information regarding the BioCanRx research network and biotherapeutic research.
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Welcome to BioCanRx’s first volume of a newsletter that will bring you important news about the network and highlights from the field of cancer biotherapeutics in Canada. Please share it freely, and do let us know if there are topics and items you want to see in this newsletter.
In late June, we co-hosted a very successful, well-attended inaugural annual scientific meeting — Summit for Cancer Immunotherapy (Summit4CI). Delegates participated in keynote addresses from Dr. Ira Mellman (Vice-President, Cancer Immunotherapy, Genentech) and Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee (Deputy Director, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins) and engaged in plenary discussions over four warm days in Halifax. The team extends our thanks to the Canadian Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium, who co-hosted the event with us. This newsletter contains more information about the event, some feedback we have received and plans for next year's Summit4CI!
As many of you know, work is well underway within our research program. BioCanRx is supporting 14 pan-Canadian multi-disciplinary projects funding research across all of the biotherapeutic platforms touching on multiple types of cancer such as ovarian, brain cancer and melanoma. Through our core facility support, these projects are being provided with the essential tools and technologies needed to move these therapeutics to clinic. If you are part of the network, and would like to learn more about the offerings of the BioCanRx core facilities, please visit our website.
We have also invested in projects in the Clinical, Social and Economic Impact Program that will look at barriers facing biotherapeutic products and platforms as they progress through the translational pipeline. Our rolling, open call submission deadlines are organized around the meeting dates of our Research Management Committee. Our next submission deadline is Nov. 9, 2016. We are eager to see what projects the community will put forward. If you have any questions about an idea you want to propose, please contact Kelley Parato. You can find application details on our website.

We have made great progress in developing relationships with key stakeholders, partners and opinion leaders in the area of biotherapeutics. Although much work remains to be done, we are confident that our work is helping to create opportunities for researchers who face the challenging task of transforming promise in the lab to outcomes for cancer patients across Canada.
This month’s newsletter includes: key dates around funding opportunities,  upcoming events, updates for our trainees and HQP, the profile of an immunotherapy patient pioneer and a feature on Dr. David Stojdl's Catalyst Project — the first in a series that will focus on projects funded by BioCanRx.
We appreciate hearing from our stakeholder community members. Please do take the time to reach out
We have launched our next round of funding through our rolling, open call process for our four research programs. BioCanRx is now accepting letters of intent (LOIs) for its:
·         Clinical Trials Program
·         Enabling Studies Program
·         Catalyst Program
·         Clinical, Social and Economic Impact Program
The review deadline for LOIs is November 9, 2016, by 11:59 p.m. EDT.
For more information, see the Apply for Funding page at the BioCanRx website.
Finding the sweet spot: A tricky job for the right virus to treat brain cancer
David Stojdl (centre) and team (from left to right: Ananda Mookerjee, Melanie Labelle, Kristina Allan, Katelynn Rowe, Stephanie Swift, Charles Lefebvre, Stephen Baird)
Defeating brain cancer requires a delicate balance. At least that’s how Dr. David Stojdl sees it.
On the one hand, Dr. Stojdl is engineering viruses that seek out tumour cells in the brain, infect them and flag them as dangerous — yet don’t infect healthy cells.
“Brain tissue is not very amenable to regeneration. So, if you are using a virus in the brain, you have to be sure it is only going to infect and destroy the cancer cells,” says Dr. Stojdl, a BioCanRx-funded investigator who is a senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and a professor at the University of Ottawa.

On the other hand, the virus needs to be potent enough to do its job: kick-starting the immune system and launching a deadly attack on cancer cells without causing too much inflammation, which can have serious consequences.
At the end of June, sunny Halifax weather welcomed more than 260 experts in cancer biotherapeutics from Canada and abroad to share scientific advancements and experiences, and to strengthen and create collaborations across disciplines.
The diverse and dynamic group of speakers and panellists from academia, industry, patient groups and government provided in-depth insight and highlighted the impact that this annual conference will play in strengthening the global response to cancer.
Below are a few highlights of the feedback received from delegates regarding the conference. If you attended Summit4CI and did not have the opportunity to provide feedback, please connect with Amanda Devost. We are always looking to improve the experience for delegates! BioCanRx and CCIC (Canadian Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium) would like to thank organizers, sponsors and delegates for making the first conference a tremendous success.

BioCanRx will be hosting the next Summit4CI in Ottawa-Gatineau from June 25-28, 2017 — in the lead-up to the country’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. Stay tuned to the Summit for Cancer Immunotherapy website for information on registration, sponsorship and trainee opportunities! 
The Summit was a fantastic time – both scientifically and socially! Training programs at the Summit were well attended and received great feedback from HQP.
Congratulations to the HQP below for being recognized in the following categories!

Top Plenary Presentation by a HQP
Victor Naumenko, Mahoney Lab,
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
Top Speed Poster Presentations
Laïla-Aïcha Hanafi, Turtle Lab,
Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre, Seattle, WA (Session #1)
Sandy Pelletier, Turcotte Lab,
CRCHUM, Montréal, QC (Session #2)
Top Poster Presentations by HQP
Andrew Nguyen, Wan Lab,
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Carole Bonkoungou, Melichar Lab,
HMR, Montréal, QC
Kwame Twumasi-Boateng, Nelson Lab,
BCCA, Victoria, BC
Larissa Pikor, Bell Lab,
OHRI, Ottawa, ON
SeongJun Han, Ohashi Lab,
UHN, Toronto, ON
Simon Gebremeskel, Johnston Lab,
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

Career Opportunities
This jobs board will list career opportunities from our network, core facilities and partners in cancer biotherapeutics sector on our website. There are currently job postings featured from Zymeworks and Caprion.

BioCanRx Lab Exchange Program
Exchanges aim to establish partnerships focused on training, in particular skills development and technology transfer as well as strengthen connections between network members and/or industry.

Mitacs Accelerate Internships
This program enables graduate students or post-doctoral fellows to bridge the gap between academia, industry and non-profit organizations by working on intersectoral research projects.

Featured on the BioCanRx website is a collection of helpful educational online resources and in-person workshop opportunities related to professional development. We will continue to add resources to this section. Check out what we've compiled so far! 

You can find more information about training, education and career opportunities at the 
BioCanRx Training website.

Engage with other HQP in the cancer biotherapeutics sector on our online community. Join now!
From pioneer to pioneers: A patient view on research
“I am so damn lucky and I know it every morning when I get out of bed.”

When Kathy Barnard says this, she means it.

Kathy Barnard founded and runs Save Your Skin, a patient advocacy and support organization that has been on the front lines as immune-oncology has emerged. 

Save Your Skin helps inform legislation (Federal Bill C-386 Tanning Bed Legislation for Youth), patient-care policies and guidelines, and provides individual financial, informational and emotional support to cancer patients.

She started the group in 2006 because she needed to fill a gap in information available to patients, to help answer questions she had as she tackled her own melanoma diagnosis. “What treatment options are there for me?” “How can I get that treatment?”

Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer
New York Times | July 30, 2016

International Conference on Replicating Oncolytic Virus Therapeutics
Vancouver, BC | October 1 - 5, 2016

Cancer Research Institute's Immunotherapy Patient Summit
New York, NY | September 24, 2016
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Be a part of the BioCanRx community! Please send news and information to:
Amanda Devost, Manager, Communication and Corporate Affairs, BioCanRx

Our mailing address is:
501 Smyth Road, Box 611, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6

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