MOHCCN Update: From the desk of Dr. André Veillette, Executive Director, Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network

We are pleased to share this MOH update from Dr. Veillette, who took on this new role in February 2022.

It has been a very busy and exciting few months for myself and our Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network team as well as everyone involved in this new initiative. I have enjoyed virtually meeting many of you and learning more about this important project to accelerate precision medicine. I’d like to recognize two members of our HQ team for their significant contributions to our team: Isabel Serrano, our research projects manager, and Natalie Szudy, TFRI’s implementation manager and interim executive director, Digital Health and Discovery Program. Both are profiled in our HQ staff update.

Following is a summary of our other work completed and ahead:

Activities to Date

  • The Prairie Cancer Research Consortium joined the MOHCCN on January 1 as a new Consortium and provided a document that outlines their plans to integrate the designation review committee's recommendations into their workplan.
  • The Network’s Master Agreement was signed in February 2022 by the three founding consortia: BC Cancer, Princess Margaret and the Quebec Cancer Consortium. This document covers the obligations of the Consortia to contribute cases and data to the Network, the matched funding obligations, and governance of the Network. Any new members joining the Network will sign a Joinder Agreement, like recent newcomers McGill University Health Centre and Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
  • The Northern Biobank Initiative was approved by the MOHCCN Network Council for its inclusion in MOHCCN. This program will operate under the Northern Health Authority with funds provided by MOH and TFRI, effective 2022.
  • MOHCCN Network Council also supported the inclusion of PROFYLE 2.0 into the MOHCCN. As of April 1, PROFYLE is one of our cross-Canada programs. We are currently working on the integration of the PROFYLE and their 16 cancer sites into the Network.
  • We are currently working actively with our nine MOHCCN Working Groups that helped to define the research goals and methods of the Network. Our objective is to facilitate meetings, update the groups’ mandates and membership, as well as identify the next steps in their work (for example, targets for development and implementation of deliverables). New Working Groups being created include the Biospecimen Working Group and the Underepresented Populations Working Group. Once the Working Groups have updated their activities, they will report back to the Steering Committee for discussion and feedback. We also aim to engage further and more broadly the MOHCCN clinicians and scientists in the steering of the activities of MOHCCN, the public communication strategy (see below) and the planning of a potential renewal application.
  • A new MOHCCN website has been launched and now has a dedicated French language version.
  • We are pleased to have launched the Marathon of Hope Pathfinder Project and you can read more about this project soon on our web site.

Upcoming Activities and Events

  • We have received, analyzed and grouped the 35 White Papers proposals received by TFRI in response to the first Open Call for White Papers for new precision medicine cohorts.  These White Papers have been carefully evaluated with some in the process of being integrated into the pan-Canadian cohort and others being selected for workshops to develop collaborations,
  • TFRI has received 13 full applications for the Clinician-Scientist awards, to commence this July. TFRI has funding from Health Canada to support up to four clinician-scientists as part of its commitment to train new leadership in precision oncology research. A special review panel will soon meet.  
  • MOH project researchers at the Princess Margaret Consortium and PROFYLE will present their progress in Toronto on July 7 at a TFRI-PMH Joint Symposium.
It has been a very busy and exciting few months for myself and our Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network team as well as everyone involved in this new initiative.