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$12M to support oncology research projects in Quebec
$12M to support oncology research projects in Quebec

23 July 2018

Announcing the Oncopole’s EMC2 competition winners

Montreal, June 5, 2018 – The Oncopole is proud to announce, as part of its first EMC2 competition, an investment of close to $12M to support seven oncology projects in Quebec. This investment is made possible thanks to an unprecedented collaboration with leading funders, notably the Cancer Research Society, the CQDM and IRICoR. Together, the partners managed to double the Oncopole’s initial budget, an initiative supported by Merck.

A first investment of $1.5M by the Cancer Research Society was announced in February. The CQDM brings $760,704 to co-fund a project through SynergiQc, its program aimed at stimulating industrial research in a university setting in the biopharmaceutical field. The CQDM’s contribution is made possible by the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation du gouvernement du Québec (MESI) through the PSVT 2c program. Finally, IRICoR is supporting two drug discovery projects with a $600,000 contribution.

“The EMC2 competition is an innovative and winning formula for discovering cancer treatments. Carrying out these seven promising projects will result in major breakthroughs in oncology, which will provide additional tools for healthcare professionals, and especially for patients and their family”, points out Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services.

The Oncopole’s EMC2 competition

The Oncopole’s EMC2 competition brings together the expertise and strengths from the Quebec oncology research community and fosters collaboration between disciplines and institutions. Through this initiative, the Oncopole and its partners accelerate the mobilization of Quebec’s key players in order to tackle the public health challenge that cancer represents.

“After one year in existence, we are delighted to announce this major investment that brings forward our mobilizing role, with respect to both the research teams and the funders. We would like to thank our financial partners and congratulate the seven winning teams, whose projects will result in breakthroughs for the benefit of patients,” said Stéphanie Lord-Fontaine, Executive Director of the Oncopole.

Seven projects benefiting from substantial support

Following a competitive process and a thorough assessment of the 36 applications by an independent international peer review committee, seven projects were selected for funding. The teams made up of 61 investigators from 12 Quebec institutions will benefit from considerable financial support to continue their cutting-edge oncology research work.


Developing innovative anti-leukemic vaccines

Claude Perreault, IRIC

The goal of this project is to discover antigens exclusively present on leukemic cells that can elicit a strong immune response.

“We are delighted to partner with the Oncopole to co-fund the Developing innovative anti-leukemic vaccines project, led by Professor Claude Perreault of the IRIC. This research project is based on a unique technology that will result, for the first time, in developing vaccines that specifically target tumors when treating leukemia” explains Diane Gosselin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CQDM.


Optimizing prostate cancer treatments using molecular imaging and targeted radioligand therapy

Brigitte Guérin (CRCHUS), Frédéric Pouliot (CRCHUQc), Jean-Mathieu Beauregard (CRCHUQc)

This project is aimed at developing new medical imaging tools in order to visualize and better characterize the various metastatic prostate cancer cells and thus, provide patients with better treatment.


Developing new targeted therapies to improve survival of children suffering from leukemias

Brian Wilhelm (IRIC), Frédéric Barabé (CHUL), Sonia Cellot (CHU Ste-Justine)

This project consists of identifying new drugs to improve survival rates with respect to high fatality acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children.


Exploiting the Achilles’ heel of ovarian cancers in order to develop effective treatments

Anne-Marie Mes-Masson (CRCHUM), Francis Rodier (CRCHUM), Jean-Yves Masson (CRCHUQc)

The goal of this project is to improve the current therapies for ovarian cancer in order to increase survival and quality of life for women who are suffering from it.

“IRICoR is proud to participate in the EMC2 competition, a key initiative involving a common goal: to support Quebec’s innovative oncology projects. Six clinical studies have been initiated on the basis of early projects supported by IRICoR, since it was created 10 years ago. The EMC2 funding program represents a tremendous opportunity to feed the Quebec pipeline with cutting-edge therapeutic solutions” points out Nadine Beauger, Chief Executive Officer of IRICoR.


Targeting cancer stem cells to fight leukemia relapses

Trang Hoang, IRIC

Leukemic stem cells spared by the current treatment depend on their interactions with a niche for their survival, revealing a vulnerability that this team intends to exploit in order to develop new compounds that prevent relapses following treatment.


Overcoming drug resistance in poor outcome breast cancers

Morag Park (McGill), Michael Pollack (HGJ), Sylvie Mader (IRIC)

The goal of this project is to develop approaches to target treatment-resistant tumors, or for which no treatment is currently available, and thus reduce mortality.


Reducing the burden of cancer for patients and the healthcare system: Collaborative governance of the Quebec Cancer Network

Dominique Tremblay (CRHCLM), Nassera Touati (ENAP)

The purpose of this project is to analyze how, why, by whom, for whom and under what conditions the network’s governance contributes to practices resulting in added-value effects for patients, health professionals and the overall system.


This major collaborative investment promises significant outcomes that will benefit patients in complementary areas such as drug development, optimizing medical devices and improving the organization of cancer care.

“The EMC2 competition is a great example of the possibilities for research collaboration, and we are proud to contribute to it thanks to the unwavering support of our donors. It is by joining the efforts of researchers that we will succeed in outsmarting cancer. And we are convinced that tangible benefits will result from these projects involving some of the best oncology investigators in Quebec” explains Max Fehlmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Research Society.