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C$4M awarded for breast cancer research


Toronto, ON June 19, 2003 – The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA), with special funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Ontario Chapter, today announced that they will award more than C$4 million in support of three Canadian breast cancer research projects, funded through the CBCRA Breast Cancer Etiology Grant competition.

“We are looking for exceptional science that will begin to answer the questions: ‘What causes breast cancer?’ and ‘How can we help prevent the disease?'” says Dr Marilyn Schneider, executive director, CBCRA. “As we begin to more clearly understand the interrelationships among genetics, lifestyle and the environment, we will be able to lay a critical foundation for effective breast cancer prevention strategies.”

The primary goal of the CBCRA Breast Cancer Etiology Grants program is to fund research that will promote scientific knowledge and understanding of modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors for the primary prevention of breast cancer. Including the grants announced today, CBCRA has awarded $9.6 million to 11 projects since 2002 through this targeted competition.

The 2003 CBCRA Breast Cancer Etiology Grants will fund the following projects:

– Dr Norman Boyd and his team of researchers from the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto will receive almost $1.9 million to examine the influence of environmental and genetic factors on changes in breast tissue over time, and the association of these changes with the incidence of breast cancer.

– Dr Boyd has also been awarded $1.3 million over the next three years, to investigate the determinants of breast tissue composition in young women. Evidence suggests that a variety of early life factors, including lifestyle, hormones and growth, may be the most important predictors of breast cancer risk. Dr Boyd’s focus on young women will investigate how various factors influence breast cancer risk through alterations in breast tissue.

– Dr Julia Knight, of Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto has been awarded more than $900,000 to investigate a possible link between lifetime exposure to vitamin D, obtained from exposure to sunlight, diet and diet supplements, and breast cancer risk reduction. This three-year study aims to compare the history of sun exposure, dietary vitamin D and taking vitamin supplements in women with and without breast cancer in the population of Ontario.