The Cancer Research Laboratory Program is a translational science enterprise moving clinically relevant laboratory discoveries to the clinic. Our goal is to interrogate cancer biology at every level and identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited to enhance cancer treatment.

Goal: To broaden our knowledge of cancer leading to the development of new treatment and detection strategies.

Our objectives:

  • Discover new ways of destroying cancer cells by understanding cancer cell behavior
  • Develop new technologies to identify cancer cell weaknesses
  • Move laboratory discoveries to the clinic to better detect and treat cancer
  • Train and motivate a new generation of cancer researchers and clinicians


Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Canada Translational Research Unit

Translational research provides a much needed bridge of communication between highly specialized research scientists and physicians. The translational process involves identifying current significant research projects and taking the knowledge and learning of these studies and applying it directly to the patient level. Fundamentally, it puts valuable theories into practice - a progression absolutely necessary in finding a cure. Learn more about the unit

The unit was previously named the Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Unit for Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier, daughter of Lawrence and Kay Greenaway and wife of Guy Kohlmeier. Pamela died of breast cancer at age 38, which led her family to form the Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Breast Care Program

The Breast Care Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London offers comprehensive breast imaging, diagnostic and surgery services. The program brings together the dynamic, interdisciplinary breast care team of surgeons, radiologists, medical radiation technologists, nurse navigators, advanced practice nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers and others in a setting that nurtures and support seamless, innovative care for patients focused on individualized care needs, and collaboration among care providers focused on the best in care, teaching and research. The Breast Care Program, including the Norton and Lucille Wolf Breast Care Centre, are part of a large partnership initiative to improve the overall journey of breast care in London.

Breast care research is a critical focus. Through citywide partnerships and collaboration, members of the breast care team are committed to improving care and outcomes for breast care patients. Depending on their diagnosis, patients have an opportunity to participate in important clinical studies.

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal cancers includes cancers of the colon, stomach, esophagus and pancreas. Colon cancer remains the 2nd and 3rd leading causes of cancer death in men and women, respectively. Unfortunately, cancers such as pancreatic cancer remain highly lethal, affecting thousands of Canadians each year, and contributing to the 4th leading cause of cancer death.

Our group is striving to identify the cellular origins of these cancers and developing novel strategies for the treatment and early detection of these cancers. Work done in collaboration with our clinical colleagues is leading to translational application of our findings, and we aim to vastly improve the clinical outcome of patients affected by these cancers. The Gastrointestinal Research Team encompasses both scientists and clinicians at LHSC’s Verspeeten Family Cancer Centre and the Departments of Surgery, Medicine, Oncology, Pediatrics, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide.  Treatment outcomes remain poor for patients with advanced disease and both the treatment and the disease can have a profound negative impact on patient quality of life.  

The Translational Head and Neck Cancer Research Program, led by Drs. Nichols, Barrett and Mymryk, has established a comprehensive bench to bedside drug development program to identify novel highly effective agents for head and neck and aggressive thyroid cancer.  This approach incorporates large scale drug testing in a large panel of genetically characterized cell lines and mouse models (xenografts) to identify the most promising agents to take forth to clinical trials, as well as identifying genetic markers of drug response in order to customize cancer care.   

Cancer Imaging 

Basic scientists and clinical investigators at the Victoria Research Laboratories at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Program collaborate with imaging scientists and clinicians citywide to explore novel anatomic, functional and molecular imaging to detect, treat and monitor cancers more effectively. 

Work includes exploration of molecular imaging techniques in preclinical models to develop new probes and image novel molecular events, such as epigenetic changes; utilization of novel MRI,CT and PET imaging for the detection and characterization of local, locoregional and metastatic disease in cancers such as lung, prostate, and head and neck cancer;  the use of image guided therapies for ablative cancer treatments in oligometastatic disease, as well as primary lung and liver cancer; and, the use of novel imaging and imaging analysis to monitor response to treatment.    

We collaborate with Lawson Imaging and Robarts Research Institute, and have strong linkages to the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Medical Imaging at Western University.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer continues to be the most lethal of the gynaecologic malignancies. Our group’s work is based on the concept the translational application of fundamental, well-supported ovarian cancer research has the potential to vastly improve the clinical outcome of patients with ovarian cancer. The Translational Ovarian Cancer Research Program is a result of the vision of both scientists and clinicians at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Program and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Schulich School for Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.  Research efforts will continue to broaden as the group expands to include other research scientists and clinicians. 

Two major research streams:

  • The direct molecular and cellular analysis of patient samples (ovarian cancer cells isolated and cultured from patient ascites)
  • The development of transgenic mouse models of human epithelial ovarian cancer

Prostate Cancer

In North America, prostate cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Education and research are the keys to success in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate disease. Our purpose is to foster an environment where fundamental cancer researchers, surgeons, and clinical researchers work together. As a team, we can quickly transfer research discoveries from the “bench to the bedside” and make real advances in prostate cancer control.

The research program concentrates on two of the most deadly aspects of prostate cancer. The first is early stage prostate cancer detection using nanotechnology in a non-invasive way. The second is the study of metastasis. Ninety percent of mortalities from prostate cancer are due to the escape of cancer cells from the prostate that spread to distant sites like the bones.

Translational Medicine/Medical Physics Research 

Our group applies physical principles and new technologies to clinical problems arising from treatment of cancer using radiation therapy. While the research often has immediate applications, we emphasize the understanding of the fundamentals of radiation therapy and imaging physics to solve these clinical problems. We have established strong links with the Robarts Research Institute to encourage collaboration in imaging research as it applies to radiation therapy. We have also established strong commercial links to turn our ideas into clinically usable products. Learn more.