SOURCE: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

August 19, 2014 14:00 ET

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Announces $7.9 Million Investment in New Research

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - August 19, 2014) - Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is excited to be building on its commitment to fund the best and brightest research minds in Canada. Thanks to the overwhelming support of our donors, CBCF-Ontario region has awarded $7.9 million in 27 new research projects and fellowship awards, which is being announced this year during Paint Canada Pink Week, running from August 18th - 22nd, 2014.

As the largest non-governmental funder of breast cancer research in Canada, CBCF invests in innovative and relevant research initiatives that expand our knowledge and improve practice in all areas of breast cancer, including prevention, detection, treatment and support for individuals living with the disease.

"Breast cancer is a disease that 1 in 9 women will experience in her lifetime," says Sandra Palmaro, CEO CBCF-Ontario region. "Funding recommendations come from our expert peer review panel, who select research that will have the greatest impact on the lives of those affected by breast cancer."

Dr. Angel Arnaout's CBCF funded project at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute demonstrates this emphasis. Her research focuses on autophagy or 'self-eating', a process that keeps cancer cells alive despite chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Her project will have a direct impact on breast cancer patients by testing whether a safe existing drug, chloroquine, might reduce their tumour size by preventing autophagy, even as they await surgery.

"Rather than spending time and money developing a new drug, we should be testing a drug already known to be safe to humans," says Arnaout, "If successful, this will provide a new and safe treatment for breast cancer patients that can immediately be used in the clinic."

At the University Health Network in Toronto, CBCF funded researcher Dr. Jennifer Jones and her team are hoping to promote consistent physical activity in women who have experienced breast cancer by testing a method to reinforce long-term exercise through a health-coaching program called iMOVE, available through smart phones. Research suggests that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and enhances the recovery and maintenance of health in breast cancer survivors. This program will be tested on previously inactive breast cancer survivors. Information will be collected from iMOVE with regards to fitness, quality of life and physical outcomes.

"Through the use of smart phone technology, women who have experienced breast cancer will have ongoing connectivity to their iMOVE coach," says Dr. Jones. "This constant support will hopefully encourage long-term exercise, which will be beneficial towards the health of these women and reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence."

In Kingston, CBCF grant recipient Dr. Christopher Nicol of Queen's University will look at preventing the spread of breast cancer. His research focuses on a protein called PPARgamma that plays a role in the storage of fats and sugars from our diet and is turned on by drugs used to treat diabetes patients as well as 'good' fats found in healthy diets. He hopes to show how the progression of breast cancer may be stopped by activating the PPARgamma present in the body.

"Breast cancer patients mainly die from the growth and spread of their tumours," says Dr. Nicol. "This project will help identify how PPARgamma in surrounding cells prevents the spread of tumours." In the future, either drugs or diet that turn on PPARgamma could be used to prevent breast cancer growth and development.

Breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by 43 per cent since the peak in 1986 in large part due to research advancements which have led to more treatment options with less invasive treatment, a better chance of surviving the disease and improved quality of life.

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is the leading community driven organization in Canada dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. Our investments in innovative and relevant research and education have led to progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Since 1986, we have been at the forefront of a nationwide movement supporting and advocating for the breast cancer community.

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    • Nicole Curling
      Senior Manager, Communications & Government Relations
      416-815-1313 ext. 899