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March 27-29, 2014
Workshop on Mathematical Oncology V: Heterogeneity and Plasticity in Cancer
at the Fields Institute, Toronto
222 College St.

Organizing Committee:
Siv Sivaloganathan
University of Waterloo and CMM
Phillip Maini
University of Oxford and CMB
Vito Quaranta
Vanderbilt University and VICBC
Mohammad Kohandel
University of Waterloo and CMM

Registration now open
Fees: $100, Students and PDF $50, waived for invited speakers
onsite March 27.


Heterogeneity within particular cancers arises from different cell types of which a tumor is comprised, as well as from genetic and epigenetic factors that differ amongst the cancer cells themselves. This gives rise to a disease that displays a wide variety of phenotypes. In recent years, two theoretical models (supported by experimental evidence) of cancer growth and progression to a metastatic disease, have gained prominence. These are (i) models of clonal evolution and (ii) models based on the so-called cancer stem cell hypothesis. In the former, microenvironmental selection pressures are thought to drive mutations that generate clonal formations best suited to the particular microenvironment and these determine the tumor phenotype. In the latter theory, cancer stem cells (CSCs) with similar genetic backgrounds can be organized in a hierarchy corresponding to their tumorigenic potential. Thus, CSCs appear at the top of the hierarchy and are believed to drive the tumor initiating and metastatic capabilities of the majority of cancers. A characteristic feature of these types of models is the apparent unidirectional nature of disease development and progression. In these models, CSCs undergo symmetric division to replenish the CSC pool, asymmetric division to produce one CSC and one differentiated (non-CSC) daughter cell, or irreversible symmetric division into daughter cells (non-CSCs) with low tumorigenic potential. However, recent work from the Weinberg group and others strongly points to yet another possibility which supports a new model of tumorigenicity. The experimental evidence suggests significant potential plasticity that links the non-CSC and CSC compartments, so that non-CSCs can reacquire a CSC phenotype and vice-versa. Thus, under this CSC-Plasticity model, it appears that some tumors may be driven by these bidirectional interchanges which are common and essential components of its tumorigenicity. There is mounting evidence implicating the plasticity of cancer cells, in particular, as giving rise to aggressive CSCs which are created anew within a tumor. There is much current interest in clinical oncology on the therapeutic targeting of CSCs, and this workshop will include talks discussing not only clonal evolution, microenvironmental selection pressures, CSCs, CSC-plasticity but also implications for the development of future therapies.

Rick Durrett (Duke)
Heiko Enderling (Moffitt Cancer Ctr)
Aaron Goldman (Harvard Medical School)
Dick Hill (OCI, PMH)
Kamran Kaveh (Waterloo)
Mohammad Kohandel (Waterloo)
Cornelia Krueger (MIT)
Stanley Liu (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Ctr)
Philip Maini (Oxford & CMB)
Sendurai Mani (MD Anderson Cancer Ctr)
Mike Milosevic (PMH)
Hamid Molavian (Waterloo)
Vito Quaranta (Vanderbilt)
Jeremy Rich (Cleveland Clinics)
Shiladitya Sengupta (Harvard-MIT)
Sheila Singh (McMaster)
Siv Sivaloganathan (CMM & Waterloo)
Liran Shlush (UHN, Toronto)
Jack Tuszynski (Alberta & Cross Cancer Institute)
Brad Wouters (OICR & Toronto)
Thursday, March 27,
8:30-8:45 Morning Coffee and Onsite Registration
8:45-9:00 Welcome: S. Sivaloganathan
9:00-9:45 Richard Hill (Ontario Cancer Institute) (slides)
9:50-10:30 Rick Durrett (Duke University)
10:30-10:50 Coffee Break
10:50-11:30 Brad Wouters (OCI, OICR & UHN) (slides)
11:35-12:15 Stanley K. Liu (Sunnybrook Research Institute) (slides)
12:20-2:10 Lunch Break (salad & sandwiches on site)
2:10-2:50 Mike Milosevic (Princess Margaret Hospital & UHN)
2:55-3:35 Jack Tuszynski (University of Alberta & Cross Cancer Institute)
3:40-4:00 Coffee Break
4:05-4:45 Hamid Molavian (University of Waterloo)
5:00-6:00 Reception
Friday, March 28
8:30-9:00 Morning Coffee
9:00-9:40 Philip Maini (Oxford University) (slides)
10:30-10:50 Coffee Break
10:50-11:30 Sendurai Mani (MD Anderson Center, Texas)
11:35-12:15 Aaron Goldman (Harvard Medical School)
12:20-2:10 Lunch Break (salad & sandwiches on site)
2:10-2:50 Sheila Singh (McMaster University) (slides)
2:55-3:35 Heiko Enderling (Moffitt Cancer Center)
3:35-3:55 Coffee Break
4:00-4:40 Kamran Kaveh (University of Waterloo)
Saturday, March 29
Room 230, 2nd floor
8:30-9:00 Morning Coffee
9:00-9:40 Cornelia Kroeger (MIT)
9:45-10:25 Liran Shlush (Ontario Cancer Institute)
10:30-10:50 Coffee Break
10:50-11:30 TBA
11:35-11:40 Closing Remarks (S. Sivaloganathan)
11:45-12:30 Coffee Break & End of Meeting

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Confirmed Participants as of March 19, 2014

Full Name University/Affiliation
Akhter, Tahmina University of Waterloo
Althobaity, Yehya university of waterloo
Anghel, Catalina University of Toronto
Butler, Jenna Western Ontario
Clarke, Geoff University of Toronto
Dhawan, Andrew Queen's University
Durrett, Rick Duke University
Enderling, Heiko Moffitt Cancer Center
Forouzannia, Farinaz University of waterloo
Goldman, Aaron Harvard Medical School
Hill, Richard Princess Margaret Hospital
Kaveh, Kamran University of Waterloo
Kohandel, Mohammad University of Waterloo
Kroeger, Cornelia Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Liu, Stanley Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Madani Tonekaboni, Seyed Ali University of Waterloo
Mahdipour Shirayeh, Ali University of Waterloo
Maini, Philip Oxford University
Manem, Venkata University of Waterloo
Mani, Sendurai M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
May, Brandon University of Waterloo
Milosevic, Michael University of Toronto, Princess Margaret Hospital
Mohammadi, Mohammad University of Waterloo
Molavian, Hamid University of Waterloo
Murdoch, Amanda University of Waterloo
Murley, Jonathan University of Waterloo
Ng, Stanley University of Toronto
Pang, Geordi Odette Cancer Centre
Pearson, Alexander University of Michigan
Phipps, Colin University of Waterloo
Quaranta, Vito Vanderbilt University
Rajabi, Sayeh University of Waterloo
Rich, Jeremy Cleveland Clinic
Sengupta, Shiladitya Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Shlush, Liran University Health Network
Singh, Sheila McMaster University
Sivaloganathan, Sivabal University of Waterloo
Stapleton, Shawn University of Toronto
Tuszynski, Jack University of Alberta
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