Bridging fundamental and clinical science using biobanked samples

Translational science refers to research performed in a lab, or fundamental research, which is then applied to patients in a clinical setting. It is unquestionably important to moving forward in the fight against cancer. This type of research requires collaborations between researchers in different fields and settings as exemplified by many of our researchers. In one such example, Dr Borden, a fundamental researcher at IRIC, collaborated with Dr. Assouline, a clinician from the JGH to produce results that spanned their fields. Dr. Borden published her findings on a protein, eIF4E, that controls cellular transcription and how it’s dysregulation impacts cancers such as acute myeloid lymphoma. They found that the protein in question could be a treatment target and used BCLQ samples to test inhibitors of this protein such as ribavarin which lead to a Phase I trial. BCLQ samples were again used to test ribavirin resistance which had been found in the initial trial. This led to a Phase II trial that brought together multiple hospitals using ribavirin and another drug, vismodegib. This collaboration not only brought results from the bench to the clinic, it also resulted in clinical trials and multiple successful publications in prestigious journals.