News

New publication in Radiation Research
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Our recent publication in Radiation Research, “Assessing the Accuracy of Bioluminescence Image-Guided Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy of Orthotopic Pancreatic Tumors Using a Small Animal Irradiator” is a collaboration between the DaCosta Lab and Dr. Robert Weersink. In this preclincal study, Dr. Sara Rapic (former Post-doctoral fellow) and Timothy Samuel (Ph.D. candidate) demonstrated the improved accuracy of using 3-dimensional bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to deliver targeted high dose radiotherapy in orthotopic mouse models of pancreatic cancer. This BLI image-guided precision in the delivery of radiation therapy to pancreatic tumors in vivo ensures the precision of the treatment using a novel small animal irradiator. This methodology allows us to…

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The Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund
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Dr. DaCosta and other scientists discuss the opportunities for scientific breakthrough at PMCC as a result of the historic donation of $50 million in honour of the late Canadian philanthropist, Allan Slaight. Allan Slaight The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation announced a historic $50 million gift for cancer research in honour of the late Allan Slaight, a Canadian broadcast mogul, radio pioneer and visionary philanthropist.  This donation will establish the Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund, generously provided by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso and The Slaight Family Foundation.  Along with other scientists at PMCC, Dr. DaCosta discusses how the Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund…

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Welcome new cancer research technician II!
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We would like to welcome a new research technician to our lab: Dr. Emily Chen, MD, Research Technician II Emily was previously part of our lab from 2008-2009, during which she helped to pioneer our first animal window chamber models to study the tumor microenvironment.  In re-joining our lab, Emily will be responsible for conducting animal surgeries involving the use of our novel window chamber systems for direct microscopy imaging of human orthotopic tumors.  Emily will also help lead the development and validation of new intravital imaging models of cancers including solid cancers (e.g. pancreatic, brain and breast tumors) and…

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Welcome new cancer research technician III!
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We would like to welcome a new research technician to our lab: Michael Edson, MSc., Research Technician III The DaCosta lab is thrilled to have Michael Edson join us in 2022. Michael is an experienced and talented researcher who will help to manage all wet lab operations and preclinical projects.  Michael earned a MSc in Pathobiology from the University of Guelph for his thesis topic on the evaluation of plasma microRNAs in canine osteosarcoma patients.  He has 7 years of experience as a research technician, developing his skills in wet-lab techniques such as PCR, aseptic cell culture, western blotting, light…

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Welcome 2021 Summer Students!
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We would like to welcome 5 high school and undergraduate summer students who will be joining the lab this year: Ben Daynes (Aurora High School, Grade 12) Project: Developing health monitoring spectrometer with built-in light source for detection of urine biomarkers. Rachel Jacobson (Wilfred Laurier University, 1st year) Project: Investigating immunotherapy in acute myelogenous leukemia. Christos Kapetanios (Queen’s University, 2nd year) Project: Developing outreach program to educate and guide students looking for opportunities in cancer research. Zuha Qureshi (University of Toronto, 1st year) Project: Assisting with data collection and entry for the ALA Breast Cancer study Connor McFadden (Collège Français…

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Dr. DaCosta to Deliver Keynote Presentation at St Michael’s 4th Annual Life Sciences Career Symposium
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The St. Michael’s Hospital Research Student Association’s annual Life Sciences Career Symposium aims to connect trainees to distinguished experts in the Life Sciences. This year’s Symposium will take place on July 9th, 2021, featuring keynote speakers Dr. Samantha Yammine and Dr. Ralph DaCosta. Dr.DaCosta will headline the Biotechnology and Innovation session (1-3PM), sharing his experiences on his journey to becoming an academic scientist and entrepreneur in cancer imaging. Register here

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Dr. DaCosta participates in Annual 2021 MBP Career Symposium
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The annual MBP Symposium (which combines the James Lepock Memorial (JLM) Symposium and the annual MBP Alumni Night) is an important MBP event that provides an opportunity for MBP students to present their research in a conference setting. The MBP Symposium fosters scientific debate across disciplines, streams and institutes. MBP students have the opportunity to showcase their research in the form of either a scientific poster or oral presentation at the Symposium, and best presenters are recognized with merit awards. This event also featured keynote addresses from both local and international experts in the field of Medical Biophysics. This event…

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Dr. Niloufar Khosravi featured on U of T Faculty of Dentistry Website
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Niloufar Khosravi, a DaCosta Lab PhD student alumna was recently featured on U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry site. In the Article, “U of T Researchers Map Regenerative Cells in Implant Wounds” Niloufar summarized her work recently published in Biomaterials.

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Intraoperative Fluorescence Imaging with Aminolevulinic Acid Detects Grossly Occult Breast Cancer: A Phase II Randomized Controlled Trial: Manuscript accepted to Breast Cancer Research
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In 2009, the first patient was enrolled at Princess Margaret Cancer Center in this Phase II randomized controlled trial led by Dr. DaCosta in collaboration with surgeons Drs. Wey Leong and Alexandra Easson and pathologist Dr. Susan Done. The goal was to evaluate the clinical safety, feasibility and diagnostic performance of the PRODIGI handheld fluorescence imaging device combined with 5-ALA HCl for intraoperative visualization of invasive breast carcinomas. The Phase II trial was supported in large part by a $3M CIHR grant awarded to the DaCosta lab. Today, over a decade later, the manuscript for this study was accepted for…

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World’s 1st Patient Surgery in Pivotal Phase III breast cancer trial
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  Today marks an important milestone for SBI Canada’s Phase III RCT entitled “Fluorescence Imaging of Carcinoma During Breast Conserving Surgery”, as the first patient surgery was performed successfully at Orlando Health in Orlando, Florida. (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04815083) This trial utilizes the tumor selectivity of 5-ALA combined with the handheld Eagle fluorescence imaging device to enable surgeons to conduct improved intraoperative margin assessment and fluorescence-guided breast conserving surgery. Recruitment of additional clinical trial sites is underway and expected to include 20 surgical centers across Canada and the Unites States, including Princess Margaret Cancer Center.

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