Lab Canada

$7.5M funding supports breast cancer research

Toronto, ON – A total of $7.5 million in funding for 24 new research project grants and fellowship awards was recently announced by the Ontario region of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

“CBCF supports research with impact,” said Dr. Ralph George, chair of CBCF’s Research and Health Care Advisory Committee. “These winning projects will take on some of the most important research challenges in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment through innovative approaches.”

One of the goals of CBCF’s investments in new project grants and fellowships is to support research that will lead to an improved understanding of this complex disease. For example, while advances in early detection and treatment have seen significant declines in breast cancer-related deaths, some forms still defy treatment, including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Dr. Juliet Daniel of McMaster University will study TNBC, specifically why it is more common in women of African ancestry than it is in Caucasian women.

“The high prevalence of TNBC in women of African ancestry strongly suggests a genetic predisposition to this breast cancer subtype. By focusing on this population of women, we hope to identify early indicators of this aggressive disease and/or new targets for successful treatment,” said Daniel.

Newly awarded CBCF grant winner, Dr. Alison Allan, is taking on one of the most common and deadly sites for breast cancer metastasis – the lung. Allan, from Western University, will study the lung environment to determine whether specific proteins can mediate breast cancer metastasis.

“The underlying factors that cause and regulate breast cancer metastasis remain poorly understood,” said Allan. “This project will help uncover new lung-specific molecular factors that contribute to this process, with the overall goal of translating this knowledge into new therapeutic agents to better treat breast cancer and better identify and track metastasis in patients.”

Dr. Nancy Baxter, from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, will probe what happens to women after they have been tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. “To date, we have had little information about the choices women make after testing,” said Baxter. “We will follow a large group of women after testing to determine patterns of screening and surgery, and if the medical decisions they make influence their risk of future cancers.” Baxter will evaluate the impact of genetic testing using a database of over 10,000 Ontarian women – almost 70 per cent of Ontario women who have received the test.

A complete list of the projects receiving awards and fellowships can be viewed here.