Precision Oncology for Endometrial Carcinoma Patients

The Gynecologic Cancer Initiative would like to congratulate our Endometrial Cancer researchers on receiving the 2022 Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grants. Eleven GCI researchers are collaborating on this four-part project focused on Precision Oncology for Endometrial Carcinoma Patients. The investigators on this project include the GCI’s very own Dr. Jessica McAlpine, Dr. David Huntsman, Dr. Ali Bashashati, Dr. Naveena Singh, Dr. Aline Talhouk, Dr. Yemin Wang, Dr. Lynn Hoang, Dr. Dawn Cochrane, Dr. Blake Gilks, Dr. Amy Jamieson, Dr. Calvin Roskelley, Dr. Gregg Morin, Dr. Kelly McNagny, and Dr. Andrew Roth. 

This project ultimately aims to improve the uptake and impact of the ProMisE molecular classification system for endometrial cancer patients and to improve the precision of their treatment. ProMisE (Proactive Molecular Risk Classifier for Endometrial Cancer) was developed by this very team of endometrial cancer researchers to enhance the classification of endometrial carcinomas into one of the four prognostic subgroups– POLE-mutated, mismatch repair deficiency, p53 wild type, and p53 abnormal. Such classifications help inform a tailored and effective course of treatment that is specific to the molecular profile of the patient’s tumor. 

Extending Precision Oncology in Endometrial Carcinoma at Time Point of First Diagnosis 

The first project covered in this grant is the move towards the clinical adoption of ProMisE by use of biopsies. In the past, molecular classification had been done using samples collected during hysterectomies, meaning that it is often too late to use molecular classification to guide surgical planning. Thus, using ProMisE on biopsies taken upon initial diagnosis can help better inform the options available to endometrial cancer patients early on in their treatment. Additionally, this project aims to simplify ProMisE for easier clinical use, including the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help enhance the prognostic information available. 

PIs: Jessica McAlpine, Ali Bashashati 

Co-PIs: David Huntsman, Amy Jamieson, Blake Gilks, Aline Talhouk 

Discovery and Characterization of New Prognostic and Predictive Biomarkers 

The next project aims to enhance the depth and diversity of the molecular subtypes covered in ProMisE. By conducting more investigations into new subtypes of endometrial cancers, particularly those of the rarer and more aggressive types, this team hopes to grow the number of patients that can benefit from ProMisE and precision medicine. 

PIs: Naveena Singh, Aline Talhouk 

Co-PIs: Lynn Hoang, Dawn Cochrane, Amy Jamieson, Ali Bashashati, Jessica McAlpine, Andrew Roth 

Development of Treatment Approaches for Aggressive Endometrial Carcinomas 

Building off the first and second projects, the third project under this grant will focus on identifying potential cellular processes that can be targeted to treat the more aggressive subtypes of endometrial cancers. Investigating potential therapeutics for the newer and more aggressive subtypes of endometrial cancer will ultimately help provide better outcomes for those who had tumor types that were less explored in the past. 

PIs: David Huntsman, Yemin Wang 

Co-PIs: Amy Jamieson, Dawn Cochrane, Jessica McAlpine 

Clinical Specimen and Preclinical Models Core 

Many of the samples being used in these research projects will come from endometrial cancer specimens stored at OVCARE’s Gynecologic Cancer Tissue Bank. These samples will have come from endometrial cancer patients in BC and the Yukon who have consented to their tumor sample being sent to and used by the Gynecologic Cancer Tissue Bank. In addition to collecting, processing, storing, and tracking patient samples, they will also be used to create tumor models to help support the endometrial cancer research projects under this grant.

PIs: Lynn Hoang, Dawn Cochrane

Co-PIs: Blake Gilks, David Huntsman, Naveena Singh, Jessica McAlpine, Aline Talhouk, Yemin Wang 

Meet the GCI Researchers Behind These Projects

Dr. Jessica McAlpine, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Ali Bashashati, PhD

Dr. David Huntsman, MD, FRCPC, FCCMG

Dr. Naveena Singh, MD, FRCPath, FRCPC 

Dr. Aline Talhouk, PhD

Dr. Blake Gilks, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Amy Jamieson, MBChB, FRANZCOG, CGO, FRCSC 

Dr. Lynn Hoang, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Dawn Cochrenane, PhD

Dr. Yemin Wang, PhD

Dr. Andrew Roth, PhD

Dr. Calvin Roskelley, PhD

Dr. Gregg Morin, PhD

Dr. Kelly McNagny, PhD

Creating a Better Future for Endometrial Cancer Patients

Once again, we would like to extend our massive congratulations to those who have been awarded the 2022 Terry Fox Research Institute New Frontiers Project Grant. The endometrial cancer researchers at the GCI are working towards a promising future of precision oncology for endometrial cancer patients and we are proud to support them along the way. 

About the 2022 Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grants 

The Terry Fox Research Institute provides many funding opportunities to promising cancer research teams across the country. In particular, the Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant was designed to provide support to research teams exploring new frontiers in cancer research. This program recognizes research efforts that have the potential to transform the way we diagnose, treat, and/or understand cancers. Depending on whether it is a new or renewal application, research groups may receive over $2.2M in grants over 4 years (if a new application) or $6M over 6 years (if a renewal application).