The research programs at the Segal Cancer Centre include fundamental, translational, clinical, nursing, psychosocial, psycho-oncology, and palliative care research. Researchers at the Segal Centre collaborate with colleagues at the local, provincial, national and international levels, exchange ideas and findings at conferences and seminars around the world, and publish in high impact peer-reviewed journals.
The ground-breaking research conducted at the Segal Cancer Centre is recognized worldwide. The Segal Cancer Centre's physical integration of research spaces with clinical areas contributes to its uniqueness, as it generates and enhances an interdisciplinary and "lab-to-bedside" environment that is highly innovative. Researchers are aiming to develop new therapies, improve diagnostics, introduce new models of care with improved treatment protocols and practices, and educate the community about behaviours that support cancer prevention, which will result in improved clinical care.
Encompassing 27 researchers who study all aspects of fundamental and translational “wet-lab” research in the areas of cancer etiology, prevention, biology, treatment and therapeutic resistance. In 2017, Josie Ursini-Siegel was appointed as scientific director of the newly formed Molecular Oncology Group (MOG), which is divided into five main research themes:
- Dysregulated Gene Expression in Cancer: This team focuses on the mechanisms controlling dysregulated gene expression at the levels of mRNA transcription, stability and translation along with its impact on cancer progression, metastasis and therapeutic resistance.
- Genetics and Genomics of Cancer:This team focuses on “big data” analyses to identify alterations in the genome or epigenome that drive cancer progression or contribute to therapeutic resistance. This team incorporates expertise in the utilization of functional genomic screens to identify novel synthetic lethal interactions that selectively kill cancer cells.
- Genomic Instability in Cancer: This team focuses on the underlying mechanisms contributing to genomic instability in cancer. This includes developing and improving therapeutic strategies to capitalize on and further potentiate genome-wide DNA damage as anti-cancer therapies. In addition, research is focused on identifying novel founder mutations that reduce genome stability to increase the likelihood that individuals will develop numerous cancers.
- Altered Signaling, Metabolism and the Tumor Microenvironment: This team focuses on understanding how perturbation of signal transduction pathways fuel tumor development, growth and progression to more aggressive disease. The impact of these signaling pathways on metabolic reprogramming and remodeling of the tumor microenvironment is of interest to this group.
- Drug Resistance/Novel Therapeutics:Research is underway to discover and develop new cancer therapies by a diverse team of medicinal chemists, cancer biologists, pharmacologists, computational chemists, and radiochemists who interact closely to create a collaborative research environment in both pre-clinical models and clinical trials. The goal of this team is to develop “smart” drugs aimed at targets for therapeutic intervention, while also trying to understand drug resistance mechanisms.
The MCTRC is the translational research arm of the Segal Cancer Centre. The main objective of its members is to translate fundamental laboratory and clinical research data into clinical outcomes of benefit in the finding, treatment and prevention of cancer. Located on the 4th and 5th floors of the pavilions E and F, the MCTRC houses clinician scientists and fundamental researchers who conduct research in the seven areas of interest:
- Artificial Intelligence-Assisted Radiomics for Advanced Diagnostics
- Biomarker and Biopsy-Driven Research towards Personalized Medicine
- Development of Appropriate Analytical Methods for Molecular Data in Oncology
- Molecular Modeling and New Drug Development: Development of Biological and Chemical Agents
- New Therapeutic Trial Designs in Personalized Medicine: Cancer Prevention and Cancer Genetics
- New Therapeutic Trial Designs in Personalized Medicine: Molecular Oncology
- Radiation Oncology
Phase I or II clinical research studies are conducted at the Saputo Moncciolo Clinical Research Unit (CRU) on the 5th floor of the Centre, Directed by Drs. Wilson Miller and Sarit Assouline. Phase I trials of novel cancer therapeutics developed by companies and universities have been successfully performed at the CRU. The Segal Cancer Centre is also involved in larger phase II and III oncology clinical trials which are coordinated through the Clinical Research Program.
Research on new radiotherapy therapeutics and protocols take place at the Radio-Oncology department, also part of the Segal Cancer Centre. One of the protocols developed at the JGH is the EMIAR therapy, a highly targeted radiation therapy innovated at McGill university in 1998 in the era of quality imaging with magnetic resonance imaging and tested as a pre-operative radiation modality. It has been used to treat more than 1200 patients with very favorable outcomes in a matched pair control study. This radiation therapy modality is offered to patients with stage II and early-stage III (N1) rectal cancer as an alternative to standard external beam either long or short course pelvis radiation therapy. It is an alternative treatment for patients who have received previous pelvis radiation and need tumor downstaging prior to surgery. For more information on the several trials on EMIAR therapy ongoing at our site, please visit the EMIAR therapy project website.
The Psychosocial Oncology Research Program includes nursing research and palliative care research, with studies on fertility and sexuality issues in patients with cancer, quality of life in patients and their family caregivers, and information-seeking behaviour and decision-making of cancer patients.
The Hope & Cope Research Program, a collaboration between the Segal Cancer Centre and Hope & Cope established in 2007, has a focus on psycho-oncology research including studies on the concepts of volunteerism, survivorship, therapeutic interventions, exercise and fitness, evaluation and bereavement.
The Segal Cancer Centre has six biobanks that house biological samples donated by patients treated at the Jewish General Hospital. These samples are accessible to the Segal Cancer Centre researchers to develop novel tools in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. This tool is invaluable to the researchers of the Centre as it allows a myriad of experiments in a variety of human cancer tissues.
Over the years, the Segal Cancer Centre has stablished partnerships with other research groups locally (Quebec Cancer Consortium – QCC, Institut TransMedTech Montréal - iTMT), provincially (Quebec-Clinical Research Organization in Cancer - Q-CROC, Réseau de recherche sur le cancer - RRCancer), nationally (Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network - 3CTN and Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine - Exactis) and internationally (Worldwide Innovative Network - WIN).
Learn more about the Segal Cancer Centre research partners.