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If you are registered for this meeting, please refer to your emails for the event access. The email subject line you are looking for is " ACCESS GRANTED: GOC’s 20th Continuing Professional Development (CPD)"

GOC's Symposium on Molecular Biology for Gynecologic Cancers


Course Objectives

  • To discuss current, relevant, molecular and cell biology discoveries, highlighting how these insights impact our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of cancer.

  • To provide engaging and enlightening presentations geared to clinicians with a view to broaden their knowledge of the basic science of cancer and the development of novel therapies for cancer. Key historical advances that have shaped our approach to cancer are of interest.

  • To highlight the growing field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Relating this to the research interests of our speakers.

  • To discuss novel scientific advances that will shape the future of cancer treatment and our understanding of cancer biology, paying particular attention to advances in cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

  • To highlight how advancements in basic science lead to specific improvements in cancer care as a means of motivating the target audience to learn more about translational science.

APRIL 20TH 2021

GOC Social Networking lounge: 5:30pm-6:30pm EST

Course introduction:  6:30pm-6:40pm EST

Dr. Mark Carey


Basic Immunology for Cancer Immunotherapy: 6:40pm-7:10pm EST

Dr. Pamela Ohashi

Director, Immune Therapy Program, Ontario Cancer Institute

Co-Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research

Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network Professor,

Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

Canada Research Chair in Autoimmunity and Tumour Immunity

Learning objectives: 

  • Review the relevance of immunology and immunotherapy to modern cancer research and therapy

  • Review fundamental concepts in adaptive and innate immunity in cancer

  • Discuss the limitations, benefits, and strategies of cancer immunotherapy

  • Review what we now know about T cells and T cell responses that may influence future immunotherapeutic strategies


Key questions to consider:

  • What are the aspects of immune regulation and dysregulation which are important for cancer clinicians to understand?

  • What are key aspects of immune regulation that we may see as cancer therapies of the future?


Adoptive T-Cell Therapy: 7:10pm-7:40pm EST

Dr. Brad Nelson

Scientific Co-Director of BC Cancer's Immunotherapy Program

Professor of Biochemistry/Microbiology at the University of Victoria

Professor of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia

Learning objectives:

  • Describe fundamental concepts in T-cell therapy for cancer treatment

  • Review the molecular rationale behind adoptive T-cell therapy 

  • Discuss the implementation of adoptive T-cell therapy into clinical practice.

Key questions to consider:

  • What is the effectiveness of adoptive T-cell therapies in gynecologic cancers?

  • What are the obstacles to using this treatment?

  • What work can be done to reduce the cost of this treatment?


Natural Killer Cell Therapy: 7:50pm-8:20pm EST

Dr. Ali Ashkar 

Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster Immunology Research Centre, University Hamilton, ON


Learning objectives:

  • Describe methodologies for designing NK cell therapies.

  • Discuss how we isolate and identify NK cells.

  • Review the molecular rationale behind NK cell therapies.

  • Discuss the implementation of novel immunotherapeutic approaches in a clinical trial.

Key questions to consider:

  • What are NK cells, how are they isolated and briefly what is the biology of their immune regulation and function?

  • What have been the obstacles to developing NK therapies against cancer?


Wrap up discussion: 8:20pm-8:30pm EST

Mark Carey.jpg

Mark Carey

Dr. Carey completed his medical degree and Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at the University of Western Ontario, a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, and a research fellowship in the Department of Systems Biology at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Centre.

Pamela Ohashi.jpg

Pamela Ohashi

Dr. Ohashi received her Ph.D from the University of Toronto with Dr. Tak Mak, and did her post-doctoral training at the University of Zurich with the Nobel Laureate Dr. Zinkernagel, and Dr. Hans Hengartner. She is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. Her interests include understanding CD8+ T cell biology and mechanisms that regulate anti-tumor immunity.

Brad Nelson.jpg

Brad Nelson

Dr. Nelson is a native of Vancouver BC. He received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Phil Greenberg and held faculty positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2003, he became the founding Director of BC Cancer's Deeley Research Centre in Victoria BC. He is a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and a Professor of Biochemistry /Microbiology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Nelson’s lab uses genomic and molecular approaches to study the immune response to cancer. As Scientific Co-director of BC Cancer’s Immunotherapy Program, He is leading a phase I clinical trials program focused on CAR-T cell therapy for lymphoid cancers and novel T cell engineering strategies for gynecological cancers and other malignancies. Dr. Nelson is CEO and co-founder of Innovakine Therapeutics, which is using innovative protein and cell engineering approaches to improve the efficacy and safety of cell-based therapies.

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Ali Ashkar

Dr. Ali Ashkar is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Ali's first career interest was to become a veterinarian and he received his DVM degree in 1992. Ali began his pursuit of research in 1996, and he completed his Ph.D. with Dr. Anne Croy, a world expert in innate immunity at the feto-maternal interface. In 2001, he moved to McMaster University to study innate mucosal immunology with Dr. Ken Rosenthal. In 2003, Ali was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, here at McMaster University, where he established an active lab in innate immunity. Today he has achieved full professorship in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at McMaster University and has been named as Canada's Tier 1 Research Chair for Innate Immunity and Natural Killer Cell Function.

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