CHEO researchers look at cancer in the lab and at the bed side. For instance, some of our scientists consider biology by analyzing tumor biopsies, and others determine which virus therapies can wipeout cancer cells. While our pediatric oncologists address treatment options by looking at what timing is optimal for administering chemotherapy; whether or not acupuncture helps to alleviate nausea; if natural supplements can help to stimulate appetite – the bottom line is to fight cancer for kids!

CHEO is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) which aims to understand the causes of cancer and find more effective treatments for children. As part of this international research network, our clinical pediatric cancer researchers have access to funding, treatments, research support and services specifically aimed at better outcomes for kids.

Many CHEO oncologists are pursuing research interests, independent of the COG network. Our diverse team of clinical investigators are collaborating on more than 30 multi-centre studies ranging in topics from evaluating the cardiac late effects in childhood cancer survivors; to looking at central line dysfunction in children with cancer; to applying biomarkers to long term effects of childhood/adolescent cancer treatment; and even equipping patients with iPhones to record their pain scale.

Furthermore, half of our esteemed senior scientists are looking at cancer from an altogether different standpoint – in the laboratory. We are leading world class experiments using protein synthesis, oncolytic virus therapies, and anti-IAP drugs with the goal of getting into clinical trials as soon as possible.

Oncology research is very broad, active portfolio at CHEO and we invite you to contact us to learn more.

Related News

Research Projects

  1. Inhibition of PANX1 Channels Reduces the Malignant Properties of Human High-Risk Neuroblastoma


    Our findings show that PANX1 is expressed in human NB tumors and that PANX1 levels are similar between the various NB stages. However, we found that high PANX1 expression is associated with a reduced survival probability in high-risk NB patients. In vitro, our findings indicated that PANX1 is expressed and forms active channels in all seven high-risk NB cell lines assessed.

  2. Vaginal metastases of Wilms’ Tumor in a pediatric patient: a rare case


    Treatment regimens for Wilms’ tumor have evolved based on a complex risk-stratification system with the goal of maximizing cure and minimizing toxicity. There are two major groups that have developed staging systems and treatment protocols, namely the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the International Society of Paediatric Oncologists (SIOP), but both approaches have comparable clinical outcomes. Treatment refinement has taken into consideration multiple prognostic factors and has led to excellent five-year overall survival rates (90%).

  3. Phosphoantigen-Stimulated γδ T Cells Suppress Natural Killer-Cell Responses to Missing-Self


    n conclusion, our investigation shows that NK-cell priming with pAg-stimulated γδ T cells significantly reduced NK-cell responses to “missing-self” but did not affect the ability of NK cells to mediate ADCC. This γδ T cell–mediated immunosuppression of NK cells was BTN3A1 dependent, could be prevented by exogenous cytokines and did not occur if direct contact between NK cells and γδ T cells was prevented in Transwell cultures.

  4. Comparing safety and adequacy between surgical biopsy versus core needle biopsy in diagnosing neuroblastoma


    Core needle biopsy is an acceptable modality for diagnosis and risk stratification in the pediatric population. Advantages include decreased length of stay and fewer post-procedure complications.

  5. Quercetin induces pannexin 1 expression via an alternative transcript with a translationally active 5′ leader in rhabdomyosarcoma


    We present here a correlation between the levels of 5′ UTRcontaining PANX1 transcripts and PANX1 protein in skeletal muscle and RMS. We show that quercetin increases PANX1 levels in RMS cells by enriching the binding of the transcription factor ETV4 to the PANX1 promoter, which induces the expression of an alternative PANX1 mRNA transcript variant containing a translationally competent 5′ leader. Moreover, we also demonstrate the tumor-suppressive effects of quercetin in RMS and the possibility for future clinical translation

  6. The expense of sending cerebrospinal fluid for analysis on all lumbar punctures in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients


    Given the marginal cost of routine CSF screening and the lack of specific and sensitive symptoms for CNS relapse, we conclude that the routine practice of sending all CSF samples for analysis of CNS relapse in ALL patients is relatively inexpensive and beneficial.

  7. Evaluation of Fertility Preservation Counseling and Treatments for Female Oncology Patients in an Urban Pediatric Canadian Center


    This study presents contemporary data on the rates of FP counseling in Canadian pediatric female oncological patients and demonstrates low rates of FP counseling in our patient population.

  8. Bone mineral Density Surveillance for Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: Recommendations from the International Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Guideline Harmonization Group.


    These recommendations facilitate evidence-based care for childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors internationally.

  9. Management of chronic myeloid leukemia in children and adolescents: Recommendations from the Children’s Oncology Group CML Working Group


    This review outlines the diagnosis and management of the underlying disease as well as challenges that can occur when dealing with CML in this patient population.

  10. Successful treatment of pediatric primary hepatic Burkitt lymphoma using rituximab: A case report


  11. Vitamin D supplementation for children with cancer: a systematic review and consensus recommendations


    Further research is needed; until then, we recommend dietary vitamin D/calcium intake in keeping with standard national guidelines, and periodic 25OHD monitoring to detect levels <20 ng/ml. Vitamin D/calcium supplementation is recommended in children with low levels, to maintain levels ≥20 ng/ml year-long.

  12. Home-Based Pediatric Cancer Care: Perspectives and Improvement Suggestions From Children With Cancer, Family Caregivers, and Healthcare Professionals


  13. Identification of pannexin 1-regulated genes, interactome, and pathways in rhabdomyosarcoma and its tumor inhibitory interaction with AHNAK.


    Using this unbiased genome-wide approach, our transcriptomic analysis identified the genes that are regulated in PANX1-expressing RMS cells together with the key cellular processes in which they may be involved.

  14. How high? Trends in cannabis use prior to first admission to inpatient psychiatry in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2017


    As medical cannabis policies in Canada have evolved, cannabis use reported prior to first admission to inpatient psychiatry has increased. The findings of this study establish a baseline for evaluating the impact of changes in cannabis-related policies in Ontario on cannabis use prior to admission to inpatient psychiatry.

  15. The identification of dual protective agents against cisplatin-induced oto-and nephrotoxicity using the zebrafish model


    Dose-limiting toxicities for cisplatin administration, including ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity, impact the clinical utility of this effective chemotherapy agent and lead to lifelong complications, particularly in pediatric cancer survivors. Using a two-pronged drug screen employing the zebrafish lateral line as an in vivo readout for ototoxicity and kidney cell-based nephrotoxicity assay, we screened 1280 compounds and identified 22 that were both oto- and nephroprotective.

  16. Genome Editing in Zebrafish Using High-Fidelity Cas9 Nucleases: Choosing the Right Nuclease for the Task


    In summary, the developed new high-fidelity Cas9 vectors will enable researchers to perform much more accurate genome editing.

  17. Whole-Body Diffusion-Weighted MRI Compared to 18 FFDG PET/CT in Initial Staging and Therapy Response Assessment of Hodgkin Lymphoma in Pediatric Patients


    There was poor correlation between the ADC ratios and the absolute change in SUV between baseline and follow-up (0.348).

  18. The Zebrafish Xenograft Platform-A Novel Tool for Modeling KSHV-Associated Diseases


    We found that PEL cell proliferation in xenografts was dependent on the host hypoxia-dependent translation initiation factor, eukaryotic initiation factor 4E2 (eIF4E2). This demonstrates that the zebrafish yolk sac is a functionally hypoxic environment, and xenografted cells must switch to dedicated hypoxic gene expression machinery to survive and proliferate. The establishment of the PEL xenograft model enables future studies that exploit the innate advantages of the zebrafish as a model for genetic and pharmacologic screens.

  19. Induction of an Alternative mRNA 5′ Leader Enhances Translation of the Ciliopathy Gene Inpp5e and Resistance to Oncolytic Virus Infection


    Oncolytic virus infection decouples transcription and translation in cancer cells

  20. Humanized zebrafish enhance human hematopoietic stem cell survival and promote acute myeloid leukemia clonal diversity


    We determined that patient-derived leukemias transplanted into GSS zebrafish exhibit broader clonal representation compared to transplants into control hosts. GSS zebrafish incorporating error-corrected RNA sequencing establish a new standard for zebrafish xenotransplantation that more accurately recapitulates the human context, providing a more representative cost-effective preclinical model system for evaluating personalized response-based treatment in leukemia and therapies to expand human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in the transplant setting.

  21. Viable versus nonviable positive margins in Ewing sarcoma and associated recurrence rates: A systematic review


    This is an area where there is a paucity of evidence that needs to be rectified to ensure that ES patients are provided the highest quality of evidence-based care.

  22. Survival of Infants ≤24 Months of Age With Brain Tumors: A Population-Based Study Using the SEER Database


    While overall survival for infants with brain tumors has improved from the 1970s onwards, not every tumor type has seen a statistically significant change.

  23. Phase I dose-finding study for melatonin in pediatric oncology patients with relapsed solid tumors


    This study provides the background for further study of high-dose melatonin in pediatric oncology patients.

  24. The Transcription Factor SP3 Drives TNF-α Expression in Response to Smac Mimetics


    The controlled production and downstream signaling of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) are important for immunity and its anticancer effects.

  25. Pannexin 1 inhibits rhabdomyosarcoma progression through a mechanism independent of its canonical channel function


    The comparison of PANX1 direct interactors in RMS cells to that of skeletal muscle myoblasts may also enable a better understanding of the mechanisms activating and inhibiting PANX1 channels in physiologic and pathologic processes.

  26. Active-site mTOR inhibitors augment HSV1-dICP0 infection in cancer cells via dysregulated eIF4E/4E-BP axis


  27. Battling for Ribosomes: Translational Control at the Forefront of the Antiviral Response


    Viruses battle for control over the cellular protein synthesis machinery

  28. Bone Morbidity and Recovery in Children With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results of a Six‐Year Prospective Cohort Study


    These results suggest the need for trials addressing interventions in the first 2 years of chemotherapy, targeting older children and children with more severe vertebral collapse, because these children are at greatest risk for incident VF and subsequent residual vertebral deformity.

  29. Predictors of specialized pediatric palliative care involvement and impact on patterns of end-of-life care in children with cancer


    When available, SPPC, but not general palliative care, is associated with lower intensity care at the end of life for children with cancer. However, access remains uneven. These results provide the strongest evidence to date supporting the creation of SPPC teams.

  30. Smac Mimetics Synergize With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors to Promote Tumour Immunity Against Glioblastoma


    Overall, this combinatorial approach could be highly effective in clinical application as it allows for cooperative and complimentary mechanisms in the immune cell-mediated death of cancer cells.

  31. Response to treatment with azacitidine in children with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation


    We reviewed 22 pediatric patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome from a single center, diagnosed between January 2000 and December 2015. Of those, eight patients received off-label azacitidine before hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

  32. Histone H3K36 mutations promote sarcomagenesis through altered histone methylation landscape


    We present evidence that the H3K36M mutation plays a driver role in the development of mesenchymal neoplasms through impaired differentiation of MPCs. Although H3.1 and H3.3 K36M are found at different genomic locations, they result in the same genome-wide changes in chromatin landscape, gene expression profile, and tumorigenic capacity. These data imply that the specific genomic locations of H3K36M-containing nucleosomes are relatively unimportant for K36M's function. While other non-mutually exclusive mechanisms may be involved (19), the dominant inhibition of H3K36 methyltransferases is a critical downstream event mediating H3K36M's differentiation-arresting potential. The concurrent inactivation of multiple methyltransferases via a single missense mutation in histone H3 provides an efficient means to "lock" cells into an aberrant chromatin state that, in the context of mesenchymal progenitors, promotes neoplastic transformation. Our study highlights an underappreciated role of intergenic H3K36 methylation in polycomb complex recruitment through the antagonization of H3K27me3 propagation (20, 21) and demonstrate that modest alterations to the intergenic to gene-associated H3K27me3 ratio can have profound outcomes on polycomb-mediated gene silencing. We speculate that similar mechanisms may underlie other human cancers where histone H3K27 and K36-directed enzymes are frequently dysregulated.

  33. Biallelic Mutations in BRCA1 Cause a New Fanconi Anemia Subtype


    The proband presented at birth with microsomia and dysmorphic features (Fig. 1A). Growth parameters were less than the 0.4 percentile at term (birth weight 1990g, height 40.5 cm, head circumference (HC) 27 cm), and subsequent catch-up growth was not evident at 25 years of age (weight 40 kg, −3.03 S.D.; 135 cm tall, −4.35 S.D.; HC 48.5 cm, approx.−4 to −5 S.D.). Additional congenital abnormalities included sparse hair, upslanted palpebral fissures, blepharophimosis, a narrow palate, dental malocclusion, a high-pitched and hoarse voice, hyper and hypopigmented skin lesions, duodenal stenosis and a slightly enlarged left kidney. She has proximally inserted thumbs (Fig. 1A), 2nd digit camptodactyly, 2–3 toe syndactyly and hyperextensible knees as well as a history of hip dislocation. Conductive hearing loss was diagnosed at 4 years of age. Bone age at 2y 3m was delayed (1y and 6m (−2S.D.)), but had normalized by 9 years. The patient also has mild intellectual disability with significantly delayed speech. At 23 years of age she was diagnosed with ductal breast carcinoma that was estrogen and progesterone receptor positive and Her2 negative. Mastectomy was performed followed by treatment with docetaxel, fluorouracil-epirubicin-cyclophosphamide and radiation therapy. A prophylactic mastectomy was performed on the contralateral breast at age 25. The patient did not experience unusual treatment associated toxicity and has not been diagnosed with bone marrow failure to date.

  34. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Predicts High Risk Cytogenetics in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)


    p53 Immunohistochemistry staining was performed on bone marrow clot and biopsy sections from AML patients diagnosed from January 2007-January 2009 and with successful cytogenetic analysis done by standard methods. 

  35. Pannexin 1 and Pannexin 3 Channels Regulate Skeletal Muscle Myoblast Proliferation and Differentiation


    Collectively, our results reveal that both Panx1 and Panx3 are expressed in skeletal muscle myoblasts and that their levels are differentially modulated during the differentiation process regulating either myoblast proliferation and/or differentiation status.

  36. Smac Mimetics and Innate Immune Stimuli Synergize to Promote Tumor Death


    As these and other adjuvants have been proven safe in clinical trials, it may be worthwhile to explore their clinical efficacy in combination with SMCs.


  1. Lesleigh Abbott

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    CEO and Scientific Director of the CHEO Research Institute and the Vice President Research at CHEO

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    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigaor, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Associate Scientist

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Associate Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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    Associate Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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