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IRIC_rapport2009-2010_EN
Reports | Sciences 2010-11-10 16:22:07
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    2009-2010 Activity Report

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    Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 173,800 new cases will be diagnosed and 76,200 people will die from cancer in 2010. Close to 40% of Canadian women and 45% of Canadian men will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. Despite considerable efforts and spectacular scientific advances in combating this disease, effective treatments are lacking for most types of cancer. An ultra-modern research hub and training centre located at the heart of Université de Montréal, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) was created in 2003 to shed light on the mechanisms of cancer and discover new, more effective therapies to counter this plague. Front cover: An IRIC multidisciplinary work team. Front row, students Danielle de Verteuil and Étienne Caron flanking Dr. Claude Perreault, investigator, Immunobiology. Back row, Dr. Pierre Thibault, investigator, Proteomics and Bioanalytical mass spectrometry, Wafaa Yahyaoui, postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Éric Bonneil, head of the Proteomics core facility and Dr. sébastien Lemieux, investigator, Functional and structural Bioinformatics. 03 07 11 26 34 42 46 Table of Contents IRIC's Profile Words from the Executive Management Scientific Activities Training the Next Generation of Investigators Philanthropy to Fulfil a Mission Working, Getting Involved Financial Profile

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    IRIC's Profile IRIC operates according to a model that is unique in Canada. Its innovative approach to research has already led to discoveries that will, over the coming years, have a significant impact on the fight against cancer.

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    4 An innovative teaching method for training the next generation of investigators Page 3: Dr. Julie Lessard, principal investigator, and manuel Buscarlet, postdoctoral fellow. An environment and facilities at the leading edge of research A multidisciplinary approach focused on integrated systems biology A unique anticancer drug discovery chain Close involvement with the clinical community IRIC is ...

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    In only seven yeaRs of aCtIvIty, IRIC has buIlt a ReputatIon foR exCellenCe wIthIn the CanadIan and InteRnatIonal sCIentIfIC CommunIty. Its team has Close to 400 dedICated membeRs, eaCh one ConvInCed of the soundness of the InstItute's appRoaCh: ComplementaRy expeRtIse, CollaboRatIon and CommunIty, CombIned wIth CReatIvIty and InnovatIon, make up Its wInnIng foRmula foR beatIng CanCeR. A multidisciplinary approach focused on integrated systems biology Around ten years ago, the simultaneous emergence of highly sophisticated technologies and new scientific disciplines-genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics-spurred a remarkable acceleration in research work and led to the birth of integrated systems biology. This novel approach, which has a multidisciplinary focus, attempts to study all components of a biological process at the same time, and no longer just one component in isolation. IRIC was one of the first research centres in Canada to use this model. A unique anticancer drug discovery chain The Institute set up the first Canadian anticancer drug discovery chain in an academic setting. Therapeutic targets are initially validated by conducting a broad range of tests to identify the active compounds. Next, the Institute's medicinal Chemistry core facility optimizes their properties. Lastly, IRICoR, an IRIC subsidiary A Distinctive Results-focused Research Model created in 2008, establishes partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies with the aim of marketing the discoveries. Close involvement with the clinical community IRIC investigators maintain close ties with hospitals; this enables them to increase the pace of their research and have it validated in clinical trials. The collaborating partners include maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, CHUm, montréal's Jewish General Hospital and mcmaster University medical Centre (Hamilton). In addition, Institute investigators are active in local, national and international networks dedicated to the advancement of science and public health. An environment and facilities at the leading edge of research IRIC is located in the marcelle-Coutu Pavilion at Université de montréal, a building specifically designed to meet the needs of collaborative and multidisciplinary research. Every investigator has access to 11 cutting-edge technological core facilities, rare research tools in an academic setting. These core facilities also meet the needs of the scientific community at Université de montréal, in Canada and elsewhere. An innovative teaching method for training the next generation of investigators The next generation of investigators trained at IRIC must not only become experts in their own field, they must also integrate multidisciplinarity and collaboration into their practice. To do so, the Institute was the first in Canada to set up a graduate study program in systems biology, adapted to both the job market and academic research. This program has had unprecedented success and attracts students from around the world. 5

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    2mandates accelerate the discovery of new therapies and train the scientists of tomorrow a dedicated team of 400 members Page 7: dr. guy sauvageau, IRIC chief executive officer and scientific director, dr. guy breton, Université de montréal rector and dr. Robert lacroix, chairman of the IRIC Board of Directors. 1 Have a significant impact on the treatment of cancer mission AMbITIoUS MEANS 25 principal investigators 152 research employees 74 postdoctoral fellows 124 master's and ph.d. students 23 professional and administrative employees 11 leading-edge technological core facilities 1 integrated anticancer drug discovery chain 1 postgraduate study program in systems biology over $120 million in investments IRIC at a Glance 25 research units AlREADy CoNClUSIvE RESUlTS over 360 publications in scientific journals 11 patents issued and 25 patent applications filed by its investigators over 550 lectures given by its investigators and guest investigators 279 students and postdoctoral fellows trained 15 Canada Research Chairs and 2 private chairs Close to $15 million in research funding in the past year

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    Words from the Executive Management * a word from the rector of université de montréal * a word from the chairman of IRIC's board of directors * A word from IRIC's chief executive officer and scientific director

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    8 one of the university's flagships Cancer never ceases to gain ground globally, and it is more important than ever to find a way to reverse this trend. At the start of the millennium, Rector Robert Lacroix sought to position Université de montréal as one of the world leaders in cancer research. He was right to do so. Today, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) has risen to the challenge and stands out, particularly for its implementation of the first real anticancer drug discovery chain in an academic setting in Canada. Through innovation, bold thinking and the expertise of its investigators, IRIC makes an extraordinary contribution to our prestige as an institution and stands as one of our flagships. A crazy dream The creation of IRIC in 2003 was the most daring project undertaken during my time as rector of Université de montréal. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined that the Institute would acquire such a degree of excellence in so short a time. This excellence was acquired, first and foremost, thanks to its exceptional team as well as the support of Université de montréal and the many people who signed on to the project. This bridging of the academic and business worlds carries over to IRIC's Board of Directors. Its members, who are all convinced of the Institute's key importance, are not content just to spread the good news of its developments and discoveries: they also help keep it on track, by regularly reviewing its strategic plan and by helping to secure the funding that will support it. In this regard, IRIC's first fundraising campaign, which I co-chaired with marcel Dutil, chairman of the Board and CEO of the Canam Group, can be termed historic: since the start of the campaign, we have On the eve of a new large fundraising campaign at Université de montréal, there is no doubt that its development and renown remain among our top priorities. And we hope that IRIC will garner all the financial support it needs to effectively carry out its mission. Lastly, I would like to use the publication of this first activity report to thank Dr. Guy sauvageau and IRIC's investigators, staff and students as well as the members of its Board of Directors for their devoted work. guy breton, m.d., f.R.C.p.(c) Rector, Université de montréal collected a little over $14 million. A true achievement for such a young research centre and one that is still relatively unknown to the general public! On this point, I would particularly like to thank the marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation for giving the campaign an initial boost with an exceptional donation to IRIC of $5 million. IRIC has been one of the finest achievements in which I have played a role in my career. And each time a major development occurs or a discovery is made here, I view it as a gift, a very personal reward. I even dare to imagine that one day, one of the Institute's investigators will receive the ultimate award: a Nobel prize. A crazy dream? Perhaps not as crazy as one may think. Robert lacroix, ph.d., Cm, oQ, msRC (fRsC) Chairman of IRIC's Board of Directors

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    2009-2010: A year preparing for the future IRIC's mission is to have a tangible impact on the battle against cancer by developing effective new therapies. From this standpoint, 2009-2010 was a pivotal year. Previously, the Institute was a young research centre in full development: we were putting together the pieces of the puzzle-multidisciplinarity, collaboration, leading-edge technological core facilities, partnerships-and making them work together. Now they work, and they are producing ever more promising results! Take the example of ribavirin: Dr. Katherine Borden's team discovered that this antiviral was effective in treating certain patients with acute leukemia. The year 2009-2010 was also one in which major strategic projects were launched, mainly thanks to the support of generous philanthropists who understand the importance of investing in an institute such as ours. Daily, these donors provide crucial support for funding high-risk research projects whose potential impact for treating cancer is enormous. To achieve these objectives, IRIC is also fortunate to work with several partners, including maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, pharmaceutical companies and several high-tech equipment suppliers. Thanks to its numerous partnerships-and thanks also to its distinctive model, which makes the Institute a one-of-a-kind research centre-IRIC is one of Québec's main hubs in the fight against cancer. This first activity report, which sheds light on IRIC's ambitions and the means to achieve them, reflects this concern for excellence. guy sauvageau, m.d., ph.d., f.R.C.p.(c) Chief executive officer and scientific director IRIC 9

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    Kick-off of IRIC's first large-scale fundraising campaign, which receives a $5 million donation from the marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation. June 2009 June 2003 IRIC takes up residence in the new marcelle-Coutu Pavilion, an ultra-modern building specifically designed to meet the technical and collaborative needs of investigators and students. The Institute then enters a period of growth marked by the installation of 11 leading-edge technological core facilities and an animal facility, the annual hiring of three new principal investigators and the continually increasing recruitment of students and postdoctoral fellows. Appointment of Guy sauvageau to the position of chief executive officer and renewal of his mandate as scientific director. February 2008 Robert Lacroix, rector at Université de montréal, announces the creation of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC). January 2005 June 2007 Winter 2003-04 May 2006 Some Key IRIC Dates The new chief executive officer, Pierre Chartrand, and the first four recruits, principal investigators Trang Hoang, sylvain meloche, Guy sauvageau (scientific director) and marc Therrien, take up temporary residence in the Roger-Gaudry Pavilion. Launch of the new graduate program in molecular biology, systems biology option. Implementation, at the Institute, of the first Canadian anticancer drug discovery chain in a university setting, thanks to cooperation between IRIC, the Groupe de recherche universitaire sur le médicament and maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. In the same year, IRIC creates its subsidiary IRICoR, whose objective is to develop and market new anticancer therapies.

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