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New funding to strengthen proteomics research
New funding from Genome Canada and Genome BC will enhance efforts to translate research into new approaches for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dr. Christoph Borchers, Director of the Segal Cancer Proteomics Centre at the Jewish General Hospital and the Lady Davis Institute, is leading a new pan-Canadian protein research platform.
Clinical samples gathered from patients at the Segal Cancer Centre are subject to proteomic and metabolomic screening in order to identify the level of expression of proteins within a tumor.
Proteomics focuses on understanding the structure and function of proteins—how they interact and contribute to basic life processes. Metabolomics is the complementary study of the molecules used and produced by cellular processes. These allow even deeper analysis than genomics – the study of genes – of the exact biological processes at work in cancer.
“Drugs target proteins,” explains Dr. Borchers, who holds the Segal Family Chair in Molecular Oncology at McGill University, “so when we can identify the protein that is active in the cancer, we can know precisely which treatment will be most effective on the patient. We have never before been able to so accurately evaluate the processes at work within the tumor and, therefore, to target therapies with such precision.”
Dr. Borchers serves as the director of the UVic-Genome BC Proteomics Centre, which is the most advanced proteomics research facility in Canada. It is home to the technologies that are central to this national effort, in which the Jewish General Hospital is a partner.
“Extending the proteomics and metabolomics centres into a Canada-wide network provides additional and complementary capacity and capabilities,” said Dr. Borchers, “which means faster sample processing time.”

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