Ask five different people – even five different scientists – what translational research means and you’re likely to get five different answers. The term has subtly different meanings and as a translational research institute, that can sometimes pose a problem in ensuring people understand exactly what we do.
This year, OICR has developed a new tagline to help us make this clearer: Collaborate. Translate. Change lives. It’s a tagline that purposely embraces the word “translate” and shows how central it is to our mission. We want to take on a larger role in helping define the term, and helping more people understand why it is so important.
So what is translational research at OICR? It’s bringing research discoveries to patients. And while that may sound simple, in practice, in Ontario and around the world, it has proven to be anything but. OICR has built new networks and infrastructure, attracted top talent, supported innovative research programs, and collaborated with partners around the world – all to accelerate translation and bring discoveries to patients sooner. We’re also working together with our partner FACIT to support the commercialization of Ontario technologies, ensuring the Ontario economy benefits from this research through new investment and the development of new companies and jobs.
The stories in this report show exactly how we’re translating research. You can read about our new Adaptive Oncology initiative, which is bringing together cancer researchers from different disciplines to monitor how cancer adapts and evolves over time, and how OICR researchers are building a whole new set of open source tools to empower the research community to better collaborate on large-scale cancer research projects. You can see how OICR is taking a lead role in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, an enabling research platform for the global research community with data provided by hundreds of thousands of Canadian participants. And you can also see how our Drug Discovery team is working with the Structural Genomics Consortium and our commercialization partner FACIT to develop a new set of drugs based on open source technology that could have a major benefit for cancer patients.
These initiatives are just a few highlights of the huge breadth of research that occurred over the last year at OICR. If you’re interested in hearing more stories of our researchers’ success, I recommend visiting news.oicr.on.ca to keep on top of everything happening at the Institute.
This May marked the end of my two years as President of OICR. I am thankful to the OICR Board for the opportunity to lead such a remarkable organization and work closely with so many incredible, brilliant people each day. I thank everyone at the Institute for the passion, dedication and ingenuity you bring to your work and to the fight against cancer. The depth of talent at OICR and the amazing work that is underway is truly astonishing. It has been a great honour to lead the Institute and to work with you all.
Finally, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Laszlo Radvanyi to OICR as the Institute’s new President and Scientific Director. I can say from experience that leading OICR is a wonderful and often awe-inspiring experience. I am confident the Institute will continue to thrive under his direction. I wish Laszlo all the best in his new role, and look forward to watching more world-class Ontario discoveries translated to patients over the coming years.