Dr. Siham Sabri  Siham Sabri, PhD, McGill University – Chair of the MCRW Organizing Scientific Committee

Lecture: Integrating the Hallmarks of Cancer into Radiation Biology.

Dr Siham Sabri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology, a faculty member of the Division of Radiation Oncology and a medical scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Dr Sabri earned her PhD in 1998 at Paris Diderot University-ParisVII in France. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Department of Biochemistry, Birmingham University (UK) and at the INSERM hematopoiesis and stem cell research laboratory at Gustave Cancer Roussy Institute of Oncology in Paris. Following her move to the University of Alberta in 2006, she actively engaged in basic and translational studies investigating the role of the DNA repair protein O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) in glioblastoma, in addition to the identification of predictive markers of radiation-induced skin toxicity in early breast cancer patients.

Her research interests are focused on testing new-targeted therapies in combination with ionizing radiation and investigating molecular mechanisms of glioblastoma tumour angiogenesis and invasion while implementing in vitro and in vivo approaches with validation in banked patient tissue. As a co-investigator in in-house designed clinical trials at the Division of Radiation Oncology, Dr Sabri is currently leading a translational research platform to prospectively identify biomarkers of response to targeted therapies and/or new radiation delivery techniques in different disease sites.

 

  Bassam Abdulkarim, PhD, MD, FRCPC, McGill University – Member of the MCRW Organizing Scientific Committee

Lecture: Clinical and Biological Insights into Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy

Dr Bassam Abdulkarim is an Associate Professor of Oncology at McGill University and a Principal Investigator at the Research Institute of McGill University Health Center (MUHC). He has been serving as Director of the Division of Radiation Oncology at the MUHC since 2011. Dr Abdulkarim received his PhD in radiation biology from Paris XI University in 2002. As a clinician-scientist over the last 14 years, Dr Abdulkarim has developed extensive expertise in the field of translational research in oncology while leading clinical trials for the identification of blood-based biomarkers for radiation-induced toxicities in breast cancer and response to treatment in high-grade glioma. He is internationally recognized for seminal work in the field of breast cancer subtypes and risk of locoregional recurrence. Dr Abdulkarim has received a number of awards and honours during his career. 

His current research program focuses on investigating molecular mechanisms underlying response to different radiation regimens in glioblastoma and lung cancer in addition to the effects of ablative radiotherapy on lung fibrosis using in vivo orthotopic model to analyse tumour response to fractionated or ablative radiation with respect to tumour invasion and metastasis.

 

Dr. Bertrand Jean-Claude  Bertrand Jean-Claude, PhD, McGill University – Member of the MCRW Organizing Scientific Committee

Lecture: Radiosensitizing effects of targeted therapies.

Dr Jean-Claude is an Associate Professor of the Department of Medicine, McGill University, and a founding Director of the Cancer Drug Research Laboratory, Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre. He is also the founder and Co-Director of the McGill CIHR Drug Development Training Program (DDTP). Dr Jean-Claude received his Master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Moncton in 1986 and his PhD from McGill University in 1993. He completed his post-doctorate training in oncology at McGill University in 1996 and was appointed a McGill Assistant Professor. Since 2008, he has been involved in several international collaboration activities as a co-investigator on cancer drug research projects with the teams from China, Egypt and France. Dr Jean-Claude has received numerous honours, awards and distinctions during his career, among which are the Madeleine Tremblay Award (MUHC Foundation, 2013-2014), MGH 179th Anniversary Award (2008) and US Department of Defence Prize (2003 – 2006). 

His research primarily focuses on novel strategies to enhance the targeting potential of kinase inhibitors. Molecules developed in the context of his novel approach termed “the combi-targeting concept” have been shown to significantly sensitize tumour cells to radiation.

 

Invited Speakers

 

LIM-HiRes  Michael Lim, MD. Johns Hopkins University, US

Lecture: Combining Focused Radiation with Checkpoint Inhibitors in GBM.

Dr Michael Lim is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology and Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins.  Dr Lim’s surgical interest is in both benign and malignant brain tumours, with a particular interest in gliomas (including ependymoma), meningioma, pituitary tumours and skull base tumours. He has extensive experience in new and innovative neurosurgical techniques including image guided surgery, microsurgery, minimally invasive procedures and endoscopic surgery.

Dr Lim is the Director of the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Johns Hopkins.   Dr Lim’s primary research interest is developing immune-based therapies against brain tumours.   Dr Lim’s Immunotherapy program is nationally recognized.  His research laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of immune evasion by primary brain tumours.  Findings from his laboratory are directed towards translation to novel therapies against brain tumours.  In addition to running a laboratory, he also directs the immunotherapy clinical trials program at Johns Hopkins.  He currently serves as the principal investigator of several large brain tumour immunotherapy clinical trials based on findings from his laboratory.

 

Renate Parry  Renate Parry, PhD. Varian Medical Systems, US

Lecture: Radiation and Immunotherapy – Opportunities and Challenges.

Dr Renate Parry is Director of Global Translational Science at Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA. She leads a multidisciplinary team focused on exploiting new developments in biology and physics to enhance the therapeutic benefits of radiation therapy. Her interests include radiogenomics, drug-radiation combination therapies, and radio-immunotherapy. She also leads external collaborative programs in these fields with major medical centres in the US and Europe. 

She began her professional career at Schering’s headquarter in Berlin, Germany, where she was responsible for developing novel imaging agents. Prior to joining Varian, she worked at Schering’s US subsidiary in California, where she was successful in developing drug-conjugated antibodies for novel targets expressed on solid tumours. These antibodies have been advanced into clinical trials, including one that has successfully completed Phase 2 clinical trials in mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.  

She obtained her PhD in Biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany.

 

Michael Weinfeld in lab  Michael Weinfeld, PhD, University of Alberta

Lectures:  1. Radiation-induced DNA damage and repair.

2. Tidying up loose ends: The role of polynucleotide kinase/phosphatase in DNA repair and its potential as a therapeutic target.

Michael Weinfeld received his B.A. degree in Chemistry from Oxford University in 1978 and his PhD from the University of London in 1982. After postdoctoral research at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories, Ontario, and the Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, he joined the Department of Oncology in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and Cross Cancer Institute in 1989. His research interests include DNA damage and repair, tumour hypoxia, low-dose radiation response, and arsenic carcinogenesis. He currently heads the Alberta DNA Repair Consortium, which has a major program to design small molecule inhibitors of DNA repair enzymes and their application to cancer therapy.

 

 

tsakiridis_theosTheodoros Tsakiridis, PhD, MD, FRCPC, McMaster University

Lectures: 1. Combined Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy.

2. Signals versus metabolites in Radiation Biology.

Dr Tsakiridis is a Radiation Oncologist and Scientist at the Juravinski Cancer Center in Hamilton, Ontario. He treats genitourinary and lung cancer and specialises in modern stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery using robotic cyberknife and modern linear accelerator therapies. Dr Tsakiridis’ research includes basic science laboratory work, translational and clinical radiotherapy studies. His laboratory work aims to identify molecular pathways of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes involved in radiation responses of cancer cells and preclinical radiation sensitizing therapies for lung and prostate cancer. His clinical research includes tumour and serum biomarkers of radiation response, clinical studies of radiosensitizers and development of stereotactic radiotherapy techniques.

 

 

F.RodierFrancis Rodier, PhD, University of Montreal

Lectures: 1. Molecular pathways underlying radiation therapy-induced cell fate decisions.

2. Probing senescence and DNA damage response pathways as functional cancer biomarkers.

Dr Rodier is an associate professor in the Departments of Radiology, Radio-Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Université de Montréal, and a scientist at the CRCHUM and Institut du cancer de Montréal. He obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the Université de Montréal and completed his post-doctoral studies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Berkeley, and Buck Institute for Age research, California.

Dr Rodier’s laboratory focuses its research on identifying cellular and tissue mediators of the mammalian DNA damage response.  This important biological phenomenon is involved in human ageing, cancer development, and influences the outcome of cancer therapy. Dr Rodier aims to understand how the DNA damage response is terminated following DNA lesion repair, and how cancer cells can often tolerate persistent DNA damage signalling that occurs when DNA lesions are irreparable.  To achieve these goals, his team combines cell culture and animal/human models with cutting edge scientific tools.  In collaboration with clinicians, Dr Rodier’s team is also working to develop new molecular diagnostic tools for cancer stratification and to identify cellular targets to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

 

Rak_Janusz_Photo  Janusz Rak – PhD, MD, McGill University

Lecture: Microenvironmental constituents of radiotherapy response.

Dr Janusz Rak is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Jack Cole Chair in Hematology/Oncology, and an associate member at Departments of Oncology, Biochemistry and the Goodman Cancer Centre. He received his PhD in tumour biology from the L. Hirszfeld Institute in Poland (1986) and completed his post-doctoral training in Poland (Tumour Immunology, 1988), US (Cancer Immunology, 1990) and Canada (Cancer Biology Research, 1991 and 1993). Since 2011, he is a Full Professor at the Department of Pediatrics of McGill University. He was appointed a Jack Cole Chair in Hematology/Oncology in 2006. Since 2006, he is also a Principal Investigator of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute and, since 2011, a Medical Scientist of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists (CPDP) of the McGill University Health Centre.

Dr Rak contributes to the graduate and post-graduate training and teaching in oncology on topics such as the role of metabolic stress and hypoxia in cancer progression, tumour stroma, angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy. He also serves as a mentor, supervisor and academic advisor to many research trainees of the Division of Experimental Medicine. He has served as an Ad hoc reviewer of 80 scientific peer-reviewed journals and published 108 articles on cancer research.

Dr Rak has received numerous honours and awards, including Prix d’Excellence/Award of Excellence, for Research, Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, 2010; Eberhard Mammen – Most Popular Award for the article in Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis (J. Rak 2010) in highest demand, 2012.

Dr Rak’s laboratory has a particular interest in how cancer cells communicate with each other, with their surroundings and with blood vessels. One such mechanism is the release of bubble-like structures called extracellular vesicles (EVs). Dr Rak is working to develop strategies to stop these processes by blocking the production and activity of EVs and TF in brain cancers.

 

ShenoudaGeorge  George Shenouda, MD, FRCPC, McGill University

Lecture: Radiobiology of timedosefractionation and alternative fractionation schedules in radiotherapy.

Dr Shenouda holds a position of Associate Professor at the Department of Oncology, McGill University, and is also an Associate Director of Division of Radiation Oncology at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and a Chairman of the Radiation Oncology Research Committee. He received his medical degree in Egypt, Ain Shams University (1977), and a PhD in Cancer Immunology in Canada, McGill University (1983).

In 2012, he was appointed an Associate Director for Academic and Clinical Affairs in the Division of Radiation Oncology. Actively involved in training medical residents, Dr Shenouda coordinates and teaches numerous courses at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level. He has received a number of awards and honours during his career, among which are the Faculty Honour List for Educational Excellence (Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 2006), Olive Williamson Award (RI-MUHC Internal Scholarship and Awards Committee, 2007), and the Inaugural Gerald Bronfman Centre Award for Excellence In Teaching and Mentorship (2011).

Dr Shenouda’s clinical research focuses on combination of systemic therapy and radiotherapy and radiotherapy in head and neck cancer and brain tumours (Glioblastoma multiforme). He has been actively involved in several clinical trials testing altered fractionation radiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer and post-operative accelerated hypofractionated radiation therapy in patients with glioblastoma. Since 2004, Dr Shenouda is a member of the Head and Neck steering Committee, Radiotherapy Oncology Group (RTOG) and a principal investigator in Translational Research Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG, NCIC).

 

Dr Lapoint Réjean Lapointe, PhD – University of Montreal

Lecture: Controlling the controllers: the complexity of the anti-tumour immune response.

Réjean Lapointe is specialized in human tumour immunology since 1997. He got his basic training at Université Laval from 1987-1997 in microbiology and immunovirology and moved to the NIH in the group of Steven Rosenberg and Patrick Hwu while working on tumour immunology. He was recruited at Université de Montréal/CHUM/Institut du cancer de Montréal early in 2002. Objectives in the last 10 years were oriented at both fundamental and applied research to: study T and B lymphocyte biology, study tumor-immune system interactions, find new tumour antigens, and develop new vaccination systems and immunotherapies. He is part of 2 FRQ-S Networks (cancer and cell therapy), and the National Center of Excellence (NCE) on Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRx), the immunotherapy network (iTNT) from the Terry Fox Research Institute. He manages the FRQ-S/CHUM Breast Cancer Bank and has established the clinical CHUM immune-monitoring platform (6 clinical trials with Pharma).