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Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

SickKids Research Institute has earned a reputation for excellence and scientific integrity. Our high expectations of success and contribution to society are reflected in the achievements of our scientists. Long-term collaborative projects undertaken at the Research Institute are highlighted here.

Arthur & Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre
The Arthur & Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre focuses on basic science research of human brain tumours, both in adults and children. Establishment of this interdisciplinary research and training centre was made possible by a $5 million dollar donation by Authur and Sonia Labatt. This research centre brings together scientists and clinicians to determine the molecular mechanisms of brain tumour formation for the development of novel therapies.

Cancer Genetics Program
The SickKids Cancer Genetics Program successfully combines clinical, research and educational activities to serve those with a family history of cancer. This highly specialized and interdisciplinary program assesses the cancer risk of patients and families and develops recommendations for long-term monitoring of high-risk individuals and families. They target novel developments in cancer biology for translation into clinical practice and provide clinical placement opportunities to train and educate genetic counseling students, residents and fellows in paediatric and medical oncology and genetics. They are currently developing avenues to enhance public education and awareness through the community, and provide information for institutional staff and the community.

Drugs and Breastfeeding
The health benefits of breastfeeding to both mothers and infants  are widely accepted. About 66 to 80 per cent  of breastfeeding women take various medications, some of which may enter into their breast milk, carrying a potential risk of toxicity to their infant. Our goal is to set-up a “drug-in-milk” monitoring system for nursing women who have been prescribed medications and are using them

iPOG Network
The International Pediatric Oncology Guidelines in Supportive Care Network (iPOG Network) is a voluntary international collaboration of organizations which are actively developing or endorsing clinical practice guidelines for the supportive care of children with cancer or undergoing bone marrow transplant.

Leukemia Research Group (LRG)
The Leukemia Research Group (LRG) includes scientists and clinician-scientists who are collaboratively implementing cross-disciplinary approaches to understand basic mechanisms underlying leukemia, how these mechanisms can be exploited to develop and test new therapies and examining the impact of current and novel therapies on the long-term outcomes for children with leukemia. One recent discovery made by LRG investigators is that some leukemia cells "turn on" a survival pathway despite lacking the normal "upstream" drivers of that pathway. They have found that highly specific inhibitors of this pathway, currently approved for clinical use in other immune system diseases, stop leukemia cell growth in the laboratory. These potential therapeutics are being tested in mice transplanted with patient leukemia cells, and if successful, their results will support applications for early stage clinical trials using these inhibitors in paediatric leukemia patients.

MS Kids
MS Kids is a Canada-wide research study documenting the long-term outcomes of children diagnosed with clinically isolated demyelinating syndromes (CIS). This five year, project is taking place in 22 different Canadian hospitals and aims to determine the incidence of paediatric CIS, to determine the risk of multiple sclerosis in children with CIS and to delineate the early biological and MRI markers of MS and those features which distinguish monophasic CIS from MS.

N-PhenoGENICS
Researchers have long been working to further understand the biology of cancer. It is the result of their hard work and dedication that the survivor rates have dramatically improved in the last 40 years. Unfortunately, effective treatment like chemotherapy has a long-lasting impact on individuals, leaving some to seriously struggle in school. Studying these long-term effects of cancer treatment can help researchers to devise effective approaches to correct them and safer therapies for newly diagnosed children.

Quality of Life Study
The goal of this study is to understand how treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia may change the brain and affect an individual’s ability to learn, focus or remember tasks.  We study children and teens between the ages of eight (8) to eighteen (18) years old who are survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  We also include a comparison group of children and teens who did not receive treatment for leukemia.

Simple Bone Cyst in Kids
SBoCK is a research clinical trial initially developed at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Together with our many participating hospitals, surgeons and researchers, we will treat approximately 160 patients with simple bone cysts. SBoCK is funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).