SARNIA, ONTARIO, June 17, 2022 – The Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) today announced $250,000 in funding to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, for a research project led by Dr. Paola Marignani. The project aims to identify unique markers associated with HER2+ breast cancer recurrence at the single-cell level.
About one third of all breast cancers are classified as HER2-positive due to high levels of the HER2 cell surface protein. Drugs that target HER2 have been successful, however this type of cancer returns at a high frequency once treatment has been completed. The overarching goal of the research project is to identify new biomarkers that distinguish recurrence potential from HER2+ breast cancer.
Leading the project is Dr. Paola Marignani, a Professor at Dalhousie University in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She conducted postdoctoral fellowships at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, the Ontario Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School in the Division of Signal Transduction. More recently, Dr. Marignani completed the Executive Program in Artificial Intelligence in Health Care from MIT.
Dr. Marignani’s project will take place for the next three years with the goal of gaining insight to develop more precise and targeted therapies through precision medicine that prevent recurrence. Precision medicine is centered on matching the most effective drug with the right patient based on molecular profiling of the patient’s cancer, taking into consideration the heterogeneity of an individual’s cancer.
Driven by their vision to end breast cancer, BCSC is committed to funding research projects that will have a direct impact on Canadian patients. In February 2021, the World Health Organization declared that breast cancer was the most common cancer worldwide, with approximately 28,000 Canadians being diagnosed each year. The breast cancer research projects that have been selected for funding will aim to advance screening, detection, precision oncology and patient reported outcomes, enhancing care for Canadians with breast cancer.
Kimberly Carson, CEO of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada said, “Dr. Marignani’s research will directly impact the lives of breast cancer patients by developing treatment plans that are tailored to the individual. Patient treatment is no longer one size fits all. The research funded by BCSC focuses on precision medicine making the treatment of breast cancer very personalized with better targeted treatment, we can affect change for breast cancer patients.”
The Breast Cancer Society of Canada thanks its generous donors who have made this grant funding possible through their contributions. For more information on the Breast Cancer Research Grant call for proposals and the precision oncology projects being funded, please visit bcsc.ca/updates.