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2012/2013 Annual Doctoral and Postgraduate Fellowship Recipients

 

Sumaiya Islam, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Project Title

Blocking the YB-1 oncogene to circumvent chemotherapy resistance and relapse in women with triple-negative breast cancer

Project Overview

Drug resistance and relapse remain amongst the greatest challenges for breast cancer patients, in particular for those diagnosed with an aggressive subtype called triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). It has been discovered that a factor called the Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1) is associated with relapse in TNBC patients and is upregulated in the nucleus of residual tumor cells that survive chemotherapy. Sumaiya’s research will identify new targets and strategies to overcome drug resistance and recurrence by studying how YB-1 epigenetically alters the expression of specific genes to promote drug resistance, and by testing novel inhibitors that are able abrogate YB-1 action to reverse drug insensitivity.

Dr. Nelson Leong, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre, Victoria

Project Title

Symptomatic Brachial Plexopathy in patients treated with Hypofractionated compared to Conventional Fractionated Nodal Radiation Therapy in the modern era of CT based RT planning

Project Overview

Radiation therapy (RT) plays an important role for treatment of breast cancer that has spread to armpit lymph nodes. Radiation can cause damage to the brachial plexus, the collection of nerves that supplies the arm. The study will investigate the rate and severity of this damage (RIBP) in breast cancer patients in BC and northern Alberta treated with 3-week schedules of radiation compared to standard 5-week schedules.

Shorter treatments make better use of limited resources, and also minimize disruption to a patient’s life.

Dr. Jay Shankar, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Project Title

Role of pCav1 and PKM2 in breast cancer progression

Project Overview

Cancer cell migrate using pseudopodia or false feet. Detailed characterization of these pseudopodia shows that they are enriched in proteins that aid in their migration. Specific proteins in these domains interact with each other and regulate cancer cell migration and survival. Modulating expression of these proteins will help in understanding breast cancer progression.
 


Dr. Shawn Chafe, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver

Project Title

Targeting breast cancer metastasis and premetastatic niche development through Carbonic Anhydrase IX inhibition

Project Overview

Inadequate oxygen supply to a tumour activates a survival strategy that enhances a tumour’s aggressiveness.  The protein carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) plays a prominent role in this survival program in breast tumours.  Dr. Chafe has found that as part of this prosurvival role, CAIX promotes the production of proteins involved in stimulating the recruitment of immune cells to the tumour and organs where the breast cancer cells are most likely to spread.  Understanding this interplay between CAIX production and immune dysfunction may lead to improved strategies to target the spread of breast tumours.


Dr. Olivia Tseng, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Olivia Tseng 2014.jpgProject Title

Evaluate screening utilization for chronic diseases (such as osteoporosis), the patient-doctor relationships on screening test utilization and identify survivors who are unlikely to receive screening tests. 


Project Overview

Dr. Tseng’s research is funded by the TELUS-Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation National Fellowship and is focused on investigating how interactions with family physicians can improve care for people post breast cancer and breast cancer treatment.

Dr. Tseng was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan and received her medical degree from the Chung-Shan Medical University in Taiwan. After arriving in Canada, she earned a Master Degree in Science from Simon Fraser University and worked as a clinical trainee before starting residency training in Family Medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital. 
 

This is the first year that the Lina’s Dream Endowment Fund is generously supporting a CBCF Fellowship:

Dr. Esta Bovill, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Project Title

Breast reconstruction in the young BRCA mutation + patient: Does wait time to mastectomy with breast reconstruction increase the incidence of breast cancer?

Project Overview

Esta's study investigates the average wait-time from BRCA-mutation diagnosis to when risk reducing mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, is performed, via a review of patients from the BC Cancer Agency. If there is an association of cancer development with wait-time, this study will highlight the importance of expeditious treatment from BRCA-mutation carriers, and guide decision-making among clinicians and policy makers. The aim is also to improve psychosocial outcomes for young women at risk for hereditary breast cancer.