Dr. Paul Boutros is a computational biologist and principal investigator with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Using his mathematical expertise, Dr. Boutros will take a computational approach to modeling the internal structure or “micro-environment” of a tumour, with the goal of predicting how a tumour will respond to therapy.
“Tumours that look superficially very similar can have very different responses to treatment,” he explains. “Some areas within a tumour grow quickly and others grow slowly. In particular, different parts of a tumour show differences in blood circulation and in oxygenation. Tumours with blood vessels that are inefficient at providing oxygen respond very poorly to many therapies. By creating models of the tumour micro-environment and bringing different data sets together, I hope to find a link between genetics and tumour oxygenation.”
As part of the TFRI Hypoxia in Tumours Program Project Grant, Dr. Boutros will have access to 15 years’ worth of unique data collected from several projects. “By combining everything we know about a tumour, in the future we may be able to predict how a patient will respond to treatment, potentially enabling us to modify existing therapies and treat patients more effectively.”
Being part of TFRI is critical to Dr. Boutros’ work. He says “I am able to learn so much from colleagues with more experience and scientific backgrounds that are different from mine. They help me apply clinical meaning to my mathematical work. Being part of the TFRI community not only helps me, but my research team and trainees all benefit greatly as well.”
Dr. Rob Bristow, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, says “The merging of our many datasets collected over the years will lead to a better understanding of tumour biology and prognosis. Dr. Boutros is an outstanding addition to our PPG team and he fills an important gap in bioinformatics across all our projects.”
Mentoring Program: The Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant: Hypoxia in Tumours: Clinical and Experimental Studies
Mentors/PIs: Dr. Bradly Wouters and Dr. Robert Bristow