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Bowdish Lab & Miami Mice Collaborate on Early Screening of Lung Cancer

By Chantall Van Raay

April 4, 2014 – Researchers in the Bowdish lab are hoping to bridge bench to bedside cancer research through a new collaboration with Miami Mice, a cutting-edge biotechnology company that develops genetically modified mice, – called “mouse models” – to identify and develop early markers for lung cancer and leukemia.

Dawn Bowdish, assistant professor, Pathology & Molecular Medicine and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR), is collaborating with Corrinne Lobe, founder and CEO of Miami Mice, to develop a new diagnostic for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among men and women.

“Miami Mice is developing a lung cancer diagnostic test that will screen people for lung cancer at an earlier stage,” says Lobe, adding lung cancer is so deadly largely because it is detected too late. “Our idea is by having a diagnostic test that detects cancer at an earlier stage, the cancer is more treatable.”

Lobe will bring some of the data they have already compiled, including biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer, to develop immunological based assays in the Bowdish lab. Lobe says the long-term goal of the initiative is to develop an assay for eventual clinical testing.

“It is a simple immunological assay that we want to develop,” Bowdish says, “but without the infrastructure, it wouldn’t be possible. “Corinne already has all the ingredients and we have the recipe to put it together.”

Bowdish says once of the greatest advantages of the collaboration will be for the trainees, including two Connect Canada interns: postdoctoral researcher Chris Vershoor and master’s student Kyle Novakowski. “Dr. Lobe has a great background in biotechnology and academia and so the trainees will get to work and learn alongside her as they help develop the assays.”

Adds Lobe: “Grad students don’t often get to see the industrial or drug company side of things so this will offer them an awareness of what they can do outside of becoming a professor. “While it is a great to be a professor, the reality is not a lot of them are going to choose to go that route, so this gives them an idea of other options.”

The researchers received a total of $65,000 in funding for the initiative, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Centres of Excellence and Connect Canada.

They will begin their work in the lab this April and hope to have early results by June.

Photo: Pictured above, Dawn Bowdish, left, and Corinne Lobe.