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Research Underway Using OHS Data

Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the primary causes of death in Canadian adults and treating these and other illnesses costs the Canadian health care system billions of dollars annually. The researchers using Ontario Health Study data are investigating factors that increase the risk of developing various diseases, as well as what can be done to reduce the chance of developing them. These risk factors may include where people live and work, what they eat, how much they exercise, whether they smoke and other factors that have not yet been identified.

PHD student using OHS data to look for early signs of cancer

Mar 3, 2023

Nicholas Cheng is using data to compare over 400 OHS participants who’ve experienced a cancer diagnosis, with matched cancer-free participants, to look for biomarkers in the blood that could be used to detect breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers several years before a traditional diagnosis.

Hear what motivates this PHD student, as he reflects on his work in the lab of Philip Awadalla. You’ll see why he’s one of the ‘next generation’ of scientists at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

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New funding available for research using OHS data

Aug 8, 2022

A new funding opportunity from the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research (CIHR-ICR) is available and provides up to $500,000 to use provincial data from the OHS, or to use pan-Canadian data from the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath). Up to $100,000 over one year will be awarded for a single grant.

The goal of this priority funding announcement is to use data from either CanPath, which includes the OHS, or CANUE (the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium). The grant must use data from OHS/CanPath or CANUE as a principal data source for the research.

Proposals should be relevant to CIHR-ICR's mandate, related to reducing the burden of cancer through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, effective treatments, psycho-social support systems, and palliation.

Register by August 17, 2022. Learn more on ResearchNet.

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CanPath Webinar: Trainee Research: Using Population Cohorts to Enable Early Cancer Detection

Jun 16, 2022

Nicholas Cheng provides an overview of his study on identifying early cancer biomarkers in pre-diagnosis blood samples collected from more than 400 OHS participants. He demonstrates how blood signatures can be used to detect breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers years prior to clinical detection using cfDNA methylation profiles.

Kimberly Skead describes her work studying how the interacting evolutionary pressures acting on somatic mutations in blood can be used to predict progression to blood cancer in large population cohorts such as the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study and the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health project (including more than 7,000 OHS samples).

Cheng and Skead are doctoral candidates in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Institute for Cancer research.


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