Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

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Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Established 2005
Research type Translational
Field of research
Genomics, Bioinformatics, Drug Discovery, Imaging, Cancer Stem Cells, Immuno- and Bio-therapies, Clinical Trials, Health Services Research,
Staff 350+
Address 661 University Avenue, Suite 510
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5G 0A3
Affiliations Cancer Care Ontario, MaRS Innovation, Janssen, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, GE Health Care, International Cancer Genome Consortium, Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, NCIC Clinical Trials Group, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health
Website www.oicr.on.ca

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is a not-for-profit organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that focuses on the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.[1] OICR intends to make Ontario more effective in knowledge transfer and commercialization while maximizing the health and economic benefits of research findings for the people of Ontario.[2] OICR was launched in 2005 by the Government of Ontario, which provides funding through the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. The Institute employs more than 350 people at its research hub at the MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto and funds more than 1,700 scientific staff at hospital-based research institutes and universities around the province.


Ontario Cancer Research Network[edit]

OICR’s predecessor organization was the Ontario Cancer Research Network (OCRN), a not-for-profit corporation established by the Government of Ontario in November 2001 to increase translational research related to the development of new cancer therapies. OCRN’s four main program areas were: the Ontario Tumour Bank, Clinical Trials Programs, the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board and the Cancer Research Fund. The organization was headed by Robert A. Phillips, PhD.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research[edit]

In May 2005 the Government of Ontario announced its intent to launch a new cancer research institute in the province. OCRN was asked to evolve into the new institute, which would later be named OICR. OICR was formally launched by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in December 2005.[3] OICR was designed to continue OCRN’s translational research programs while building new research capacity in the province.[4] Thomas J. Hudson, OD, MD, FRSC was appointed President and Scientific Director of OICR in June 2006[5] and Robert A. Phillips was appointed Deputy Director. Dr. Hudson consulted with the Ontario cancer research community and external experts to develop a strategic research plan for the Institute in 2006. In February 2007 the completed strategic plan was approved by the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Robert A. Phillips retired as Deputy Director in 2009. The current Deputy Director and Vice-President, Outreach is Dr. Christine Williams.

Research Programs[edit]

Innovation Programs[edit]

  • Ontario Health Study
  • Smarter Imaging Program
  • Cancer Stem Cell Program
  • Innovation in Target Validation Program
  • Immuno- and Bio-therapies Program

Technology Programs[edit]

  • Imaging Translation Program
  • Transformative Pathology Program
  • Genome Technologies Program
  • Drug Discovery Program
  • Informatics and Bio-computing Program

Translation Programs[edit]

  • Health Services Research Program
  • Immuno- and Bio-therapies Program

Other Programs[edit]

OICR Leadership[edit]

  • Rima Al-awar, PhD - Program Director, Drug Discovery
  • John Bartlett, PhD - Program Director, Transformative Pathology, Leader, IMEC Translational Research Initiative
  • John Bell, PhD - Program Director, Immuno- and Bio-therapies
  • Janet Dancey, MD - Scientific Director, Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network
  • Janet Manzo, BScN, RN, CCRP - Executive Director, Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board
  • Jeanette Dias D’Souza, M.Ed., CPA, CA, ICD.D - Vice-President of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer
  • John Dick, PhD - Program Director, Cancer Stem Cell
  • Craig Earle, MD - Program Director, Health Services Research
  • Aaron Fenster, PhD - Program Director, Imaging Translation, Co-Program Director, Smarter Imaging
  • Steven Gallinger, MD - Leader, PanCuRx Translational Research Initiative
  • Peter Goodhand, Interim President, OICR; Executive Director, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health
  • Michele Noble, MBA - Corporate Secretary, OICR
  • Robert Rottapel, MD - Program Director, Innovation in Target Validation
  • Lincoln Stein, PhD - Interim Scientific Director, OICR; Program Director, Informatics and Bio-computing
  • Christine Williams, PhD - Deputy Director and Vice-President, Outreach, OICR
  • Martin Yaffe, PhD - Program Director, Smarter Imaging, Co-Program Director, Imaging Translation


OICR occupies labs and office space in the MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Discovery District, the MaRS Centre’s neighbours include the University of Toronto, the Provincial Legislature, University Health Network (including Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital and the Ontario Cancer Institute), The Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital. It is also located just north of Toronto’s financial district. OICR funds research in other affiliated labs and institutions located in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Waterloo.

The lab space in the building was designed and constructed by NXL and completed in 2008. The total space of the area is 58,000 sf. OICR is using the floors 5,6 and 8.[6] An extension of the office and lab space in the MaRS Centre was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 2012.[7][8] The lobby and entrance is on the 5th floor, with a lobby, lounge and a helical staircase connecting offices and the lounge on both the 5th and the 6th floor.[9]


  1. ^ OICR website
  2. ^ Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation
  4. ^ Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation
  5. ^ Has Ontario found 'THE NEW MESSIAH' of cancer research? Globe and Mail, November 13, 2006
  6. ^ NXL about the lab space of OICR
  7. ^ Photoshoot of the OICR offices
  8. ^ DSAI about the OICR offices
  9. ^ Details of the OICR lounge staircase

Coordinates: 43°39′35.29″N 79°23′20.08″W / 43.6598028°N 79.3889111°W / 43.6598028; -79.3889111