B.Sc. University of British Columbia, 1988
Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 1996
Senior Research Scientist, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Associate Professor, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia
A key area of focus of Dr. Ong's research program is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern prostate cancer growth and treatment resistance. His primary focus has been focused on defining and targeting cell signalling pathways underlying the development and progression of prostate cancer and to develop new therapeutic strategies to improve survival. Dr. Ong and colleagues have recently discovered a critical secreted cell signaling protein called SEMA3C that drives cancer growth. From this discovery, they developed a novel protein-based medication that disrupts SEMA3C signaling and prevents unhealthy cell growth that leads to prostate cancer, and potentially other cancers.
Dr. Ong is also a co-discoverer/inventor of a novel class of small molecule agonists of the SH2-containing inositol phosphatase, SHIP. This technology was licensed to Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, a UBC spin-off company that Dr. Ong co-founded with his colleagues, Drs. Mui, Andersen and Krystal. Aquinox’s lead drug candidate, Rosiptor, is a small molecule activator of SHIP1 suitable for oral, once daily dosing. Building upon the positive Phase 2 trial results where AQX-1125 demonstrated an ability to improve both pain and urinary symptoms in patients with Interstitial Cystitis Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS), Rosiptor is now in multicenter Phase 3 clinical trials for treatment of IC/BPS. Top-line data from the LEADERSHIP 301 trial is anticipated in the third quarter of 2018.