TORONTO- The Ontario Tumour Bank (OTB) will supply ovarian tumour samples to the Canadian Ovarian Cancer Experimental Unified Resource (COEUR) in an effort to further enhance ovarian cancer research in Canada, announced Dr. John Bartlett, Provincial Principal Investigator, OTB and Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research’s (OICR) Transformative Pathology Program.

“We are thrilled to be contributing these samples to COEUR and to be a part of such an innovative and exciting initiative to discover more about the causes of ovarian cancer and the best avenues for treatment,” said Dr. Bartlett. “Through sharing and collaboration we are more likely to identify the best individualized treatment strategies to improve outcomes for patients with ovarian cancer.”

The COEUR initiative, a project of the Terry Fox Research Institute, will establish a collection of ovarian cancer samples and clinical data from 2,000 women. Researchers will be provided with controlled access to the resources so they can perform biomarker studies with a particular focus on predicting response to therapy. Biomarkers are an important tool in personalized medicine as they assist clinicians in diagnosing an individual’s cancer and choosing the most effective treatment, potentially sparing patients unnecessary side effects and ensuring patients are matched with the most effective treatment sooner.

“Adding the high-quality samples and clinical data of the OTB is an important step toward reaching our goal of 2,000 ovarian cancer samples,” said COEUR principal investigator Dr. Anne-Marie Mes Masson, a molecular oncologist at the Université de Montréal. “These samples will make COEUR a more robust resource for researchers and enable them to address clinical challenges to improve outcomes for women who are treated for ovarian cancer.”

The initiative also aims to accelerate research by requiring studies that use its samples to submit the resulting research data to COEUR to allow the creation of a database for meta-analysis. This means that future studies using the resource will be on an even stronger footing.

With the OTB providing samples, OICR will become a consortium institution and its researchers will be provided with free access to the COEUR sample collection and database subject to approval of their research project by the COEUR study committee. COEUR will provide free access to its collection to all academic researchers across Canada based on the scientific merit and ethics review of their research.

COEUR is funded by a five-year $5-million commitment from the Terry Fox Research Institute and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Under the agreement between the OTB and COEUR, OICR will be reimbursed for the cost of the provided tumour samples.

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