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Breast cancer research projects get $8.4M


Toronto, ON – The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region has awarded more than $8.4 million in research and fellowship grants across the province.

“Although the mortality rate of breast cancer has significantly declined, it’s still the most common cancer in women today,” said Dr. Salma Abdelmagid, post doctoral fellow with the University of Guelph. “It’s a very difficult disease with a tremendous burden on patients and the health care system. I want to understand the factors that contribute to breast cancer, ultimately aiding us in identifying ways to prevent the disease.”

The new research grants and fellowships address every aspect of the disease, from how to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer, to improving the quality of life for those who experience breast cancer. The funding also supports research looking into the biology of breast cancer in hopes of shedding light on how resistance to medication can develop. CBCF-funded researchers will also be investigating new pain management techniques, evaluating a program combining medical treatment with mindfulness-based stress reduction such as meditation and yoga which, if successful, could change the way pain is treated for breast cancer survivors for years to come.

Following is a list of the projects that are receiving funding:

(1) RESEARCH PROJECT GRANT PROGRAM:

The Research Project Grant Program supports projects demonstrating scientific excellence and innovation across a broad spectrum of research disciplines and methodologies, with emphasis on impact across the spectrum of breast health and breast cancer.

For the 2013 fiscal year, a total of $6,582,575 was approved for the following 17 research projects:

Christina Addison, PhD; Co-Investigators: Mark Clemons, Gurmit Singh, Anil Joy; Ottawa Hospital Research Institute – Ottawa; Integrin-FAK Signaling Axis as a Principal Mediator of Breast Cancer-Induced Bone Metastasis; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $447,625 over 3 years.

Ali Ashkar, PhD; McMaster University – Hamilton; Priming human NK cells to treat human breast tumours: Clinical application of ex vivo-expanded autologous NK cell therapy; Area of focus: Treatment; Funding approved: $449,760 over 3 years.

Kelvin Chan, MD; Co-Investigators: Jordan Feld, Kathleen Pritchard, Lisa Hicks, Murray Krahn; Sunnybrook Research Institute – Toronto; Health Consequences and Cost-Effectiveness of Hepatitis B Screening Before Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Patients with Early Stage Breast Cancer: A Modeling Perspective; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship & Outcomes Research; Funding approved: $105,040 over 1 year.

Jocelyn Côté, PhD; University of Ottawa – Ottawa; The Role of PRMT7 is Breast Cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $435,525 over 3 years.

Ralph DaCosta, PhD; Co-Investigators: Stuart Foster, Gang Zheng, Brian Wilson, Wey Liang Leong, Sachdev Sidhu; Ontario Cancer Institute – Toronto; Multimodal Optical Imaging of Breast Tumour Receptors for Diagnosis and Interventional Guidance In Vivo; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Funding approved: $436,106 over 3 years.

Scott Davey, PhD; Queen’s University – Kingston; Molecular Characterization of BRCA1 Function in the Maintenance of DNA Integrity; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $443,409 over 3 years.

Sean Egan, PhD; The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute – Toronto; Modeling aggressive forms of luminal breast cancer in mice: Cooperation between general and subtype-specific oncogenic pathways; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $449,733 over 3 years.

Gillian Einstein, PhD; Co-Investigator: Mary Tierney; University of Toronto – Toronto; Cognition and Estrogen Deprivation in BRCA Women with Prophylactic Oophorectomy; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship & Outcomes Research; Funding approved: $371,897 over 3 years.

Jean Gariépy, PhD; Sunnybrook Research Institute – Toronto; Targeted imaging and therapy of breast cancer using Tn antigen- and CEA-Specific DNA aptamers; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Funding approved: $445,364 over 3 years.

Razqallah Hakem, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; Rnf169, a novel tumour suppressor for breast cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $450,000 over 3 years.

Patricia Poulin, PhD; Co-Investigators: Howard Nathan, Cathy Smyth, Andra Smith, Keith Wilson, Cheryl Harris, John Kowal, Xinni Song; The Ottawa Hospital – Ottawa; The Effect of an Inter-Disciplinary Program, Including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, on Psychosocial Function, Pain Perception, Disability and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors with Chronic Neuropathic Pain; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship & Outcomes Research; Funding approved: $414,080 over 3 years.

Christine Pratt, PhD; University of Ottawa – Ottawa; Preclinical development of A-CD estrogens for HRT & SERM-resistant breast cancer; Area of focus: Treatment; Funding approved: $441,360 over 3 years.

James Raeside, PhD; University of Guelph – Guelph; Estrogen metabolism in breast tissue: significance of a ‘new pathway’ in carcinogenesis; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $28,795 over 1 year.

Michael Reedijk, MD/PhD; Co-Investigators: Michael Moran, Ming Tsao; University Health Network – Toronto; Establishing TRB3 as a therapeutic target in breast cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Funding Approved: $389,694 over 3 years.

Alla Reznik, PhD; Co-Investigator: John Rowlands; Lakehead University – Thunder Bay; Low-dose PEM device for screening of high-risk population-clinical prototype; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Funding approved: $450,000 over 3 years.

Gurmit Singh, PhD; Co-Investigators: Snezana Popovic, Laurie Doering; McMaster University – Hamilton; Mechanism-based therapeutics for breast cancer-induced bone pain; Area of focus: Treatment; Funding approved: $450,000 over 3 years.

Gordon Winocur, PhD; Co-Investigators: Malcolm Binns, Mark Henkelman, Micheline Piquette-Miller, Ian Tannock, Jan Wojtowicz, Haibo Zhang; Trent University – Peterborough; Chemotherapy and Cognitive Impairment; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship & Outcomes Research; Funding approved: $374,187 over 3 years.

(2) FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM:

The Fellowship Program provides funds to train researchers and clinicians across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Fellowships focus on a broad range of issues across the spectrum of breast health and breast cancer.

For the 2013 fiscal year, a total of $1,870,500 was approved for the following 17 fellowships:

Physician Level:

Amanda Roberts, MD; Supervisor: Toni Zhong, MD; University Health Network – Toronto; Healthcare Utilization during the Survivorship Period: A Population-Based Study of Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction in Ontario; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship and Outcomes Research

Physician Fellowship: funding approved: $143,000 over 2 years, post-doctoral level:

Salma Abdelmagid, PhD; Supervisor: David Ma, PhD; University of Guelph – Guelph; Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in mammary gland development; Area of focus: Etiology/Prevention; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Craig Camp
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, PhD; Supervisor: Jeff Wrana, PhD; Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute – Toronto; A high-throughput siRNA screen for novel regulators of crumbs complex assembly and apical-basal polarity in mammary epithelial cells to uncover novel tumour suppressors; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Jessica Cockburn, PhD; Supervisor: Anita Bane, MB, PhD; McMaster University – Hamilton; Prognostic signature and therapeutic development for poor prognosis ER+ breast cancer; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Jennifer Gorman, PhD; Supervisor: Jim Woodgett, PhD; Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute – Toronto; Cancer dissemination from the Breast: role of activated Wnt/beta catenin signaling in the maintenance of breast tumour growth and metastasis; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Gesseca Gos, PhD; Supervisor: Irene Andrulis, PhD; Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute – Toronto; Discovery of novel genes associated with early-onset familial breast cancer by analysis of exome sequences; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Purna Joshi, PhD; Supervisor: Rama Khokha, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; Hormone regulation of stem/progenitor cells in the human breast; Area of focus: Etiology/Prevention; Post-Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years.

Ken Kron, PhD; Supervisor: Mathieu Lupien, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; Investigating the role of EZH2 and its binding partners in establishing epigenetic silencing marks

Area of focus: biology of breast cancer; post-doctoral fellowship; funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years; doctoral level:

Kimberly Cullen; Supervisor: Karen Fergus, PhD; York University – Toronto; An Evaluation of an Internet-based, Psychosexual Intervention for Couples following Treatment for Breast Cancer: A Phase I Trial; Area of focus: Cancer Control, Survivorship and Outcomes Research; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years.

Rosa-Maria Ferraiuolo; Supervisor: Lisa Porter, PhD; University of Windsor – Windsor; Implications of Spy1 on Estrogen Receptor Signalling in Breast Cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $75,000 over 2 years.

Cristina Gallego Ortiz; Supervisor: Anne Martel, PhD; Sunnybrook Research Institute – Toronto; Computer-aided Diagnosis for MRI Screening of Breast Cancer in High Risk Women; Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years.

Manpreet Kalkat; Supervisor: Linda Penn, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; Identifying novel therapeutic targets of the Myc oncogene in breast cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years.

Elizabeth Koch; Supervisor: Brad Wouters, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; Hypoxic DICER1 repression affects tumour initiation in breast cancer; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $37,500 over 1 year.

Allison Nixon; Supervisor: Jason Moffat, PhD; University of Toronto – Toronto; Investigating the role of O-GlcNAc signaling in breast cancer cells; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Doctoral Fellowship; Funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years.

Nandini Raghuram; Supervisor: Sean Egan, PhD; The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute – Toronto; Towards Modeling Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Area of focus: biology of breast cancer; doctoral fellowship; funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years; master’s level:

Erin Landman; Supervisor: Peeyush Lala, MD, PhD; The University of Western Ontario – London; Cyclo-oxygenase-2 induced microRNAs in breast cancer progression and maintenance of Stem-like cells; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Master’s Fellowship; Funding approved: $27,500 over 1 year.

Pirashaanthy Tharmapalan; Supervisor: Rama Khokha, PhD; University Health Network – Toronto; The Role of Progesterone Receptor Isoforms in Hormone-driven Mammary Stem Cell Regulation; Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer; Master’s Fellowship; Funding approved: $27,500 over 1 year.