About Us

Bringing your potential therapies into the clinic.

The Alberta Pre-Phase I Cancer Program (PP1P) was set up in 2013 by medical oncologist Dr. John Mackey and colleagues to link potential solutions with unmet needs. Both patients and clinicians are in urgent need of therapies that are safer and more effective.  Alberta has a thriving discovery and medical research community, from which those therapies will spring.  Linking problem with solution requires the translation of basic discovery research to clinical evaluation. 


PP1P is located at the University of Alberta's Cross Cancer Institute (CCI) in Edmonton, Alberta.  The Program is guided by a Steering Committee (below) with expertise in drug discovery, drug development and clinical oncology, and includes representation from the Alberta innovation community. 


This Program is made possible through the generosity of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Dr. John Mackey, Steering Committee Chair

Dr. Mackey is a medical oncologist with 20 years of clinical experience treating breast cancer patients.  He serves as Director of the Cross Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Unit, Executive Director of Translational Research in Oncology and is Chair of the Alberta Pre-Phase I Cancer Program Steering Commitee.  Dr. Mackey's translational research focus is the development of predictive biomarkers, and novel targets and pathways for improved systemic cancer therapy.

Dr. Don Morris

Dr. Morris is Head of Medical Oncology at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and Chair of Systemic therapy and Director of the TBCC Translational Cancer Laboratories, Alberta Health Services.  He has numerous additional academic and administrative appointments within the University and Alberta Health Services.  Dr. Morris' interests are in the development of novel cancer therapeutics, oncolytic viruses, immunotherapeutics and biomarker validation.  His clinical areas of expertise include Thoracic and Musculoskeletal malignancies.

Dr. A.J.B McEwan

Dr. McEwan is Professor (Oncologic Imaging), Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta, as well as a member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.  His research interests are radioisotope therapy (131I mIBG , 111In Octreotide, strontium-89 and 131I ERC9), mechanisms of effect of unsealed source therapy, and novel radiopharmaceutical development.   Dr. McEwan is also interested in the impact of molecular imaging on clinical trial design – the use of biomarkers, treatment stratification and planning and assays of response – and hypoxia imaging.

Dr. Jack Tuszynski

Dr. Tuszynski is the Allard Chair in the Division of Experimental Oncology at the Cross Cancer Institute and Professor in the University of Alberta Department of Physics.  He has published almost 400 peer-reviewed papers, over 50 conference proceedings, 10 book chapters and 10 books and is on the editorial board of a number of international journals.  Dr. Tuszynski heads a multi-disciplinary team creating “designer drugs” for cancer chemotherapy using computational biophysics methods, to target cancer cells with minimal side-effects to healthy cells. His research interests are strongly linked to the protein tubulin and the microtubules assembled from it.

Dr. Megan S. Lee

Dr. Megan Lee has a diverse background in research, due diligence on commercialization and investment propositions, company creation, business development, and organization management.  Prior to joining the Alberta Cancer Foundation to lead the area of investment partnerships, Megan was a Director of Corporate Affairs, Planning and Development at a publicly-traded commercial stage biotech company.  Megan holds a PhD in Biochemistry and a MBA with a specialization in Technology Commercialization.

Dr. Michael Sawyer

Dr. Sawyer is a medical oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute with a focus on gastrointestinal malignancies and cancer of unknown primary.  He leads the Clinical Trial Unit’s Phase I Unit.  Dr. Sawyer’s translational interests lie in understanding interpatient variability in toxicity and efficacy, nephrotoxicity (especially of antifolates and nucleoside analogues), polymorphisms effects on drug elimination, and the role of nutrition in understanding toxicity and efficacy.

Dr. Raimar Loebenberg

Dr. Loebenberg is a Professor in the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the founder and director of the university’s Drug Development and Innovation Centre.  He is a member of the United States Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplement Expert Committee and a member of the Health Canada Scientific Advisory Committee on Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology.  Dr. Loebenberg’s interests are in biopharmaceutics to predict the oral performance of drugs and botanicals and inhalable nanoparticles to treat lung cancer and infectious diseases.

David Jenish, Program Project Manager

David serves as PP1P’s Project Manager.  He has more than 20 years experience in the recombinant protein-based therapeutics industry in Canada.  David’s roles included the development, scale up and commissioning of processes for the cGMP manufacture of clinical trial material.  This experience includes the development of associated analytical programs, the drafting of related quality and regulatory documentation, and has a considerable amount of experience within the contract manufacturing environment.

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