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Research / UCCRI/ News


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Each year, over 35,000 Canadians are diagnosed with kidney, bladder, or prostate cancer. In fact, 1 in 7 men will be affected by prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Until now, urology research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton has mostly been in the form of clinical trials, in support of diagnosis and disease management. Advances in robotic surgery at St. Joe’s have helped us become a leader in this growing field. Today, St. Joe’s is making the next big leap in urological research by expanding collaboration between basic scientists and clinical researchers through the formation of the Urologic Cancer Centre for Research & Innovation.

Dr. Anil Kapoor, a urologist and researcher, has been named the Centre’s director. Kapoor envisions a research enterprise that will utilize translational research practices.

Translational research is a specialty of St. Joe’s – it allows our researchers to take their discoveries from the lab bench to the clinical bedside, all within our hospital. This bench to bedside approach has had tremendous success in other research areas of St. Joe’s, such as the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health. Our new Urologic Cancer Centre for Research & Innovation will benefit from these translational practices that connect basic scientists in our laboratories to clinicians caring for patients.

Basic scientists working at St. Joe’s, including Dr. Richard Austin and his lab, have identified several biomarkers that are correlated with various urological cancers in animal models and in humans.

Over the next few years as the new research centre progresses, Dr. Kapoor’s goal will be to link the discoveries that are being made through groundbreaking lab work, including the identification of specific biomarkers and genetic testing, to clinical diagnostics and patient care.

“The next step will be to check for these biomarkers in a clinical setting,” said Kapoor. By searching for biomarkers in patients, Dr. Kapoor and his team hope to be able to determine an individual’s risk of cancer reoccurrence. This foresight will be a powerful tool in the fight against kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer – allowing doctors to plan an appropriate, tailored follow-up for each patient.

Thanks to the philanthropic leadership of patient donors like Mr. John Ribson, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton now has the resources to take the next step in urological cancer research. The Urologic Cancer Centre for Research & Innovation will launch early 2019, with the goal of transforming care for patients with urological cancer.

Dr. Anil Kapoor and Mr. John Ribson, at the unveiling of the John Ribson Minor Procedures Suite, named in appreciation of his generous $1m gift to urological oncology research.


A Helping Hand

In 1998, John Ribson was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Unsure of his future, he put his trust in physicians at St. Joe’s. At the time, there were few options for treating urological cancers. However, research has since increased cure rates and uncovered better disease management strategies.

Twenty years after he was first diagnosed, John Ribson is helping St. Joe’s researchers establish a new Urological Oncology Research Centre through a generous gift of $1 million.

“I believe it is important to support causes that are close to our hearts and ones that can have an impact in our community,” said Mr. Ribson. “I am thankful to be able to give back to the Hospital, the physicians and the researchers that helped save my life and to hopefully help them save even more lives through new research.”

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