Dr. Alex Wyatt has been awarded a Canadian Cancer Society Impact Grant for his project, "Practical genomic stratification to enable tailored treatment of DNA repair defective prostate cancer." This five-year project will screen blood samples from metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients across Canada in order to identify the subset whose tumours are defective in specific classes of DNA damage repair. These patients will be selectively treated on the basis of their results, using chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Dr. Cherkasov and his team just published a paper in ACS Central Science describing the development of a Deep Docking technology. This AI-based approach enables virtual screening (docking) of billions of molecular structures in a rapid, yet accurate fashion. Deep Docking provides up to 100-fold data reduction and 6000-fold data enrichment for candidate drug molecules. Among other applications, the developed AI-approach allowed rapid screening of 1.36 billion molecules against a critical drug target in COVID-19.
Elie Ritch and Evan Warner of Dr. Wyatt's lab have been awarded CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards.
The funded projects are “Genomic and clinical characteristics of the hyper-mutant molecular subtype of advanced metastatic prostate cancer studied using circulating tumor DNA” (Ritch) and “Genomic features of metastatic prostate cancer with aberrant DNA damage repair” (Warner).
Dr. Christopher Nguan, director of the Surgical Technologies Experimental Laboratory and Advanced Robotics (STELLAR) facility at UBC, Associate Professor in the Department of Urologics Sciences, and a VPC Associate, lead one of 11 projects to receive funding from the Roche Canada COVID-19 Open Innovation Challenge.
Teck Resources has provided a $250,000 contribution to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for targeted drug discovery into therapeutic solutions to the COVID-19 virus carried out at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. This will support the research program led by Professor Art Cherkasov, which is currently underway.
Click here to read the press release outlining this and other contributions made by Teck Resources to fight the pandemic.
The Vancouver Prostate Centre has responded, along with many in the local Life Sciences community, by donating our inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning products to frontline workers engaged in the fight against COVID-19.
We thank the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute for coordinating this effort at VCH research sites, and we thank Life Sciences BC and Xenon for coordinating with health authority partners and the BC Centre for Disease Control for collection and distribution.
Vancouver, B.C. (March 16, 2020): An Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform used to develop precision oncology drugs at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) has been repurposed to shave significant time off the process of finding a cure for COVID-19.
Researchers at the Centre are optimistic that their novel work will provide a list of potential treatment options within a matter of weeks, once they secure the funding needed to do more screening and testing.
In response to the rapidly emerging COVID-19 global health emergency, Dr. Cherkasov's group has utilized their novel AI-based platform, Deep Docking (DD), with the recently published structure of the COVID-19 Mpro target. They applied DD to process 1.3 billion compounds and within a week had identified the top 1000 potential ligands.
Without AI augmentation, this same work would have taken up to three years.
VCHRI News has featured an article discussing Dr. Flannigan's study of getting prostate cancer patients into a regular exercise routine, with an ongoing study of whether this changes the genetic expression and molecular makeup of their tumor and improves their diagnosis.
Click here to read at VCHRI News; text of the article is below.