Genomics and Bioinformatics

Genomics is a field of study that explores the genes in a person’s body, collectively known as their genome. Utilizing cutting-edge technologies like next-generation sequencing, researchers investigate the functioning of genes and how disruptions in their activity can contribute to diseases, including cancer. This transformative field has revolutionized our approach to studying, diagnosing, and treating cancer, emphasizing personalized strategies tailored to each patient’s unique genetic composition, thus advancing precision medicine and improving overall patient outcomes.


Bioinformatics, closely tied to genomics, employs sophisticated computer algorithms to analyze the massive amounts of genomic data produced by techniques like next-generation sequencing. This data, consisting of a sequence of billions of the four DNA letters (A’s, T’s, G’s, and C’s), is decoded based on these computer algorithms and AI (Artificial intelligence) models to pinpoint gene mutations and other alterations in patient tumours. Clinicians then use this information to tailor personalized therapies that target specific mutations in an individual’s tumour.

At CancerCare Manitoba and the Paul Albrechtsen Research Institute CancerCare Manitoba, genomics and bioinformatics are integral to both research and patient care. The Genome Sequencing Laboratory, annually analyzes hundreds of patient tumours, enabling clinicians to identify precise mutations and recommend personalized treatment plans. Researchers at the Paul Albrechtsen Research Institute focus on high-fatality cancers like lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, brain, and blood cancers. They use cutting-edge genomic, bioinformatic, and AI approaches to uncover the root causes of these cancers and understand how they change over time to develop resistance to treatment.


Research Platforms — Tools of Discovery

The Research Institute provides several core resources, or platforms, to member scientists that enable the advancement of their research. The platforms, detailed below, include specialized technologies, equipment, data, and services. While each platform has important scientific applications on its own, the collective suite enables collaborations and synergies across research disciplines. Thus platform investment decisions are an important strategic function of CancerCare. Funding for the platforms includes the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, managed research grants, and various funding agencies, universities, and government bodies.

Manitoba Tumour Bank

A biobank facility with a collection of cancer-related tissues

This well-curated and annotated repository provides a critical research service for our scientists and others across Canada and internationally.

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Cancer Modeling & Imaging Core

The study of cancer in whole organisms

Cancer modelling is essential in the development of novel cancer therapies that may subsequently be used to effectively treat cancer patients.

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Clinical Informatics

Making high-quality data available to cancer researchers

Collecting and organizing clinical information from multiple sources allows for detailed analysis using modern data science techniques like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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Quantitative Imaging, Phenotyping & Sorting (QuIPS)

Foundational for cancer and blood disorder research

Understanding how cells act and interact with each other helps identify the molecular events driving cancer development and progression.

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