The BRAS Drug Development Program was established in January 2001 at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.  The Princess Margaret is Canada’s leading cancer centre and the only centre exclusively devoted to the treatment, education and research of cancer.  It is also recognized as one of the top five cancer centres in the world!

Under the brilliant directorship of Dr. Malcolm Moore and the equally brilliant directorship of Drs. Amit Oza, Lillian Siu and Philippe Bedard, the BRAS Drug Development Program has gained the credibility and international reputation, needed to be chosen by pharmaceutical companies, and large government agencies, for testing the most promising new cancer drugs.  This is obviously a wonderful opportunity for patients, as well as an endorsement of the clinicians, researchers and clinical research staff who run the program.

Introducing a new agent into the clinical arena starts with first-in-man studies of new drugs or combinations of drugs – Phase 1.  These are highly specialized studies that need to be conducted very carefully, looking for safety, tolerability, toxicity and early hints of activity.  Phase 2 studies utilize doses and schedules established in Phase 1 and formally evaluate them in patients with specific types of cancers to evaluate their effectiveness.

Translating the results of early phase clinical trials into treatments that change the standard of care, is the ultimate validation of a new drug.  The BRAS Drug Development program continues to work closely with colleagues from the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trial Group (NCIC CTG) and the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI).

In 2011, Dr. Amit Oza and his team, were once again successful in renewing our drug development contract with the U.S. National Cancer Institute for a further 5 years.  This is a highly prized and competitive award, which enables our program to access novel anti-cancer agents, and develop early phase clinical trials that can be run across the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s consortium.  There were only 7 awards for NO1 contracts for this competition, with BRAS Drug Development Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, being the only non-U.S. site.  This is our 3rd contract renewal for the BRAS Drug Development Program, to develop and conduct early phase clinical trials of NCI CTEP sponsored agents in an innovative and efficient manner.

This award is external confirmation of the depth and scope of the BRAS Drug Development Program, and validation of the innovation and quality of the clinical trials we run.  For more information on this highly coveted award, and the scientific board of advisors for the NO1 Drug Development Program, and other awards presented, please visit the Helping Hand newsletter issue of 2012 on our website, under “Greetings from Dr. Amit Oza”.  Congratulations team!

Our challenge is to continue to improve treatment for cancer.  Our success is measured not only by the quality and rigor of our work, but by the impact we have on patients and their families.  The program continues to succeed because of the dedication and enthusiasm of our entire team, toward the goal of providing longer and better lives for our cancer patients in Canada and worldwide.


Maggie Bras

President, BRAS Drug Development Program Advisory Committee to donate.