The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Lakehead
University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine have
launched ICR Discoveries, Institute of Cancer Research in
Thunder Bay, Ontario. After many years of cooperative research
activities and teaching collaborations, the partner organizations
have formalized their working relationships and are embarking
on a new era of research that will support and enhance patient
care, complement provincial and national research activities,
and address local and regional needs.
In March 2001, recognizing the mutual interdependence of
the partnering organizations to achieve their individual academic
and research goals and objectives, the Northwestern Ontario
Regional Cancer Centre (NWORCC) and Lakehead University conducted
a needs analysis that identified current research and teaching
activities, and the steps required to effectively launch an
institute of cancer research. In the fall of 2002, a steering
committee of interested Lakehead University faculty members
and NWORCC scientists was formed to develop the institute.
This committee has met on a monthly basis to address strategic
issues dealing with the establishment of the organization
now known as ICR Discoveries.
Because of the flexibility of operation and to capitalize
on the infrastructure that was already in place, the institute
was formally established within the corporate structure of
Lakehead University as the Northwestern Ontario Cancer Research
In October 2004, an agreement between the Thunder Bay Regional
Health Sciences Centre, Lakehead University, and the Northern
Ontario School of Medicine was signed to form a partnership,
committing institutional efforts to NWOCRI.
In November 2004, the official name of the Cancer Research
Institute was changed to ICR Discoveries.
“To undertake, develop, and support cancer research
and related programs in Northwestern Ontario that will improve
the prevention, screening, supportive care, palliative care,
diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. This includes a focus
on cancer issues of the people of Northwestern Ontario.”
To achieve this Mission, ICR Discoveries is committed
- Offering a platform for the training, development, and support
of personnel in cancer research in Northwestern Ontario.
- Conducting research that relates to all parts of the continuum
of cancer care: prevention, screening, supportive care, palliative
care, diagnosis, and treatment. In doing so, ICR Discoveries
will foster the development of emerging or expanding areas
of research related to cancer.
- Supporting the translation of basic research into clinical
- Developing interdisciplinary areas of research strength and
fostering of translational research by increasing communication
between fundamental and clinical investigators.
- Establish a critical mass of investigators in various disciplines
of cancer research under a single institute located in Northwestern
- Assist in the establishment of additional research infrastructure
including laboratories and equipment related to cancer research.
- Assist in the recruitment of qualified researchers and healthcare
providers to Northwestern Ontario.
- Attract top scientists and their expertise to develop independent
research programs; attract peer-reviewed grants, and train
students in the latest techniques of medical research in Northwestern
- Provide an economic stimulus to the area, and reverse the
trend to out-migration of the “best and brightest personnel.”
- Provide an environment for people involved in cancer research
to interact, collaborate, and create the scientific collegiality
that is important to build a sustainable program.
- Provide education and training for students, researchers,
and physicians who would like to undertake cancer research
- Assist in the establishment of educational programs that
will produce researchers in Northwestern Ontario.
- Enhance the profile and prestige of Northwestern Ontario
in the research community.
- Enhance the body of knowledge related to cancer care.
- Address northern cancer issues unique to Northwestern Ontario.
ICR Discoveries is an institute where faculty and scientists
conducting cancer research in the partner organizations can
become members. In addition, cancer researchers external to
the partner organizations may also become affiliated with
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