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Cancer researcher honoured with Terry Fox Young Investigator Award


Vancouver, BC – Dr Marianne Sadar, senior scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Terry Fox Young Investigator Award for her research in prostate cancer.

 

Sponsored by the Terry Fox Foundation and awarded by the National Cancer Institute of Canada, the Terry Fox Young Investigator Award is awarded annually to a promising young investigator doing outstanding basic laboratory work. The prize comes with $1,000 for the recipient and $20,000 for their research.

 

“When I was notified about the award, I was very moved,” says Dr Sadar. “Terry Fox was a heroic young man who inspired a nation. He believed that with research we can find cures for cancers. It is a great honour to receive an award based on his legacy.”

 

Dr Sadar was 10 when she lost her older sister to leukemia. “It completely changed my life and is what motivates me,” says Dr Sadar who has dedicated her scientific career to improving outcomes for cancer patients. “There was no cure for my sister at that time, but scientific research has led to significant advances in alleviating suffering and extending life for cancer patients.”

 

“I am very pleased that Dr Sadar’s contributions have been recognized,” says Dr Marco Marra, Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre. “She is a brilliant and focused researcher who has made significant contributions to understanding the molecular basis of advanced prostate cancer.”

 

Dr Sadar, along with her team, successfully identified a molecular mechanism which may explain how advanced prostate cancer grows even in the absence of male hormones. An unknown agent causes the activation of prostate cancer cells when it binds to a unique region of the receptor. In knowing this, they were able to create “decoy molecules” to prevent the unknown agent from triggering prostate cancer cells.

 

The discovery has now advanced her research to a stage where she is developing drugs to help prevent and improve outcomes for prostate cancer, a disease that affects one in seven men in Canada.