Research Funding

BCAK is committed to promoting and providing funds for research into the cause, control and cure of breast cancer.

  • BCAK has contributed over $300,000 to local research from the Walk since the first one in 1994

Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Dr. Sandip K. SenGupta, presentation at 2013 AGM Download PDF

How has BCAK Supported Our Research?

  • 2009: construction of “training” 63-tumours TMAs ($14,700)
  • 2011: equipment grant: digital camera for high resolution microscopy imaging of breast tumour microarrays + imaging software ($17,284)
  • 2012: construction of 435-tumours TMAs ($20,050)
  • 2013: construction of special breast stroma TMA tumour bank for proteomic & genomic profiling ($10,000)

CanIMPACT – A National Research Project

A new national research project, called The CanIMPACT, is looking to find ways to improve the coordination and continuity of care between family physician care and specialist care for cancer patients and survivors. The CanIMPACT Research Team is currently looking for Canadian breast cancer survivors to participate in their study looking at ways to improve the coordination of care for cancer patients throughout the cancer journey.

If you are 19 years of age or older and between 1-4 years post-diagnosis of breast cancer, you may be eligible to participate in a telephone interview. For more information, contact Julie (Research Coordinator)

  • Phone: 1-866-323-1833 (toll-free)
  • Twitter: @CanIMPACT_Study
  • Facebook Page: CanIMPACT Study

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eva Grunfeld, University of Toronto, Dept. of Family and Community Medicine

This study has been reviewed by the Horizon Health Network Research Ethics Board (File #2013-1930) and the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board (File # 30063)

Are You A Young Woman Who Has Had Breast Cancer? We Are Looking For Women Aged 18-45

This is a study that aims to examine changes in post-illness identities as a predictor of well-being among young women with breast cancer. Specifically, two key components of identity that have been found to predict well-being among individuals with illness will be measured. These two components are as follows: a) the integration of an illness experience into an identity, and b) the integration of non-traditional gender role expectations into one’s identity. It is likely that women experience their identity and a way of living in their body differently after their breast cancer experience.

Research Articles

Money I Received from BCAK

In 2008 I received a grant from BCAK. Such grants can be important because they may be awarded at a key point in time, when the need to develop a new idea may be great. Another advantage is that there is no deadline that the money has to be spent by, so it can be spent whenever it is most appropriate, eg when a good graduate student just comes on board, a new reagent or technique just becomes available etc. Other, much bigger grants most often come with an expiry date, ie if the funds are not spent before that, they have to be returned to the agency.

What we did with this grant:

We work on basic mechanisms that cancer cells use to multiply.

The cause of most cancers is a number of molecules called “oncogenes” or cancer genes (Her2 is one of them that is hyperactive in ~20% of breast cancers and is inhibited by the drug Herceptin). Oncogenes make cells divide uncontrollably, hence the cancer. They do that by activating a protein called “E2F”, which is going to trigger the replication of the DNA of the cancer cells, and cell division. Paradoxically, E2F also makes the cancer cells die! Hard to wrap your mind around it, I know, but Biology is full of paradoxes of this kind. How come then the oncogene causes cell multiplication, not death? Because the oncogene at the same time activates a protein, called “Stat3” which keeps the cancer cell alive (“survival” signal)…

What this model shows is that if you inhibit the oncogene itself with a drug, then the cancer cells will stop dividing, ie become normal again (with low E2F). BUT, they will not die. When the drug is stopped, the cancer will be back. However, if Stat3 is inhibited rather than the oncogene, then the cancer cells will die, because of the high E2F. Stat3 inhibitory drugs are in phase I clinical trials.

Stat3 Diagram

With the help of the grant we bought antibodies to detect Stat3 in cells, reagents to measure cell death and cell multiplication, material to grow the cells, and paid for services to measure activity of various genes. The results were published in over 15 peer-reviewed papers, and of course the importance of the financial contribution of BCAK was acknowledged.

Leda Raptis, Ph.D., professor,  Biomedical and Molecular Sciences