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2010/2011 Annual Breast Cancer Research Grant Recipients

Scott Tyldesley, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver

researcher_Tyldesley.jpgProject Title

Results of brain radio therapy and re-irradiation in metastatic breast cancer in the trastuzumabera

Project Overview

The objective of this study is to describe the incidence of brain metastases and outcomes after brain irradiation and re-irradiation in the trastuzumab era. The study will allow for an improved understanding of the prognostic features and outcomes of metastatic breast cancer to the brain when treated and retreated with palliative radiotherapy. It will provide patients and clinicians with a realistic expectation of the potential survival and response rates after brain irradiation and re-irradiation in the Her 2 era.


Pauline Truong, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island, Victoria

researcher_pauline.jpgProject Title

Development and validation of a prediction tool for locoregional recurrence risk after mastectomy

Project Overview

This study proposes to use patient and outcomes information on a large population of women with breast cancer treated with mastectomy in British Columbia to create a computerized prediction model that will predict an individual patient’s locoregional recurrence (LRR) risk to the chest wall or lymph nodes after taking into account information on age, tumor type and treatment factors. If proven to be reliable, this new tool will help individual women and their doctors accurately estimate LRR risks and make informed decisions regarding whether radiation treatment after mastectomy is warranted.


Kristin Campbell, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

researcher_campbell.jpgProject Title

Can exercise improve cancer associated cognitive dysfunction?

Project Overview

Following chemotherapy, some breast cancer survivors report change in their ability to remember, concentrate or think, which can have a significant emotional, psychological and economic impact on their lives. Survivors have also reported feeling frustrated by the response of the medical community, who either may not acknowledge these symptoms or have no treatment options to suggest. This is the first study known by the researchers that examines the effect of an exercise intervention on cognitive function in breast cancer survivors.


Peter Watson, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island, Victoria

researcher_watson.jpgProject Title 

Role of OSM-S100A7 pathway in breast cancer progression

Project Overview

Inflammation and immune responses are believed to be important in preventing breast tumor development at the earliest stages. However, at later stages, these same processes may have the opposite effect and promote the progression of breast cancer to metastasize or become unresponsive to treatment. A component of inflammation in breast tumors that may play a role in promoting tumor progression has been identified called Oncostatin M (OSM). This study will determine the mechanism whereby OSM suppresses the estrogen receptor and promotes invasiveness of breast cancer cells. The study will examine the role of OSM in predicting response to hormone therapy by studying breast tumor specimens associated with patient outcome data in groups of patients treated and followed up over time to determine the response and outcome to this therapy. The results may lay the groundwork for novel therapeutic strategies based on anti-inflammatory agents that target specific components of the inflammation and immune response to circumvent resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer


Michael Tully Underhill, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

researcher_underhill.jpgProject Title 

Examination of HIC1 Expression and Function in Breast Cancer

Project Overview

In recent studies, it has been found that the expression of a gene called Hypermethylated in cancer 1 (Hic1) is regulated by retinoids. This gene was originally identified based on the observations that it is normally “turned off” or silenced in a number of cancers, including breast cancers. Consistent with this, mice that are missing one copy of this gene exhibit a greater incidence of tumours. Mice missing both copies of this gene die during embryonic development. They have now generated a new model of mice that allows us to delete both copies of the gene in the mammary gland, thereby enabling us to directly assess the role of Hic1 in the initiation and progression of breast cancer. Furthermore, strategies to re-activate Hic1 expression using a combination of approved drugs have been developed. Together, these studies will help determine the role of Hic1 in breast cancer and lay the groundwork to justify pursuing HIC1 as a target for treating breast cancer.


Sheina Macadam, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

researcher_macadam.jpgProject Title 

Quality of life and patient-reported outcomes of reconstruction in breast cancer survivors

Project Overview

The objective of this study is to compare patient-perceived abdominal symptoms and quality of life in women that have undergone different types of abdominally-based breast reconstruction. This will be conducted using a survey of 1500 women that have undergone reconstruction using 5 different techniques. Our primary outcome will be self-reported abdominal wall symptoms as measured by the BREAST-Q, a sensitive and validated measure of patient reported qualify of life following breast reconstruction. The results of this study will help to advance surgical techniques, facilitate evidence-based practice and improve the process of shared medical decision-making for breast-cancer survivors and surgeons. Most importantly, patient education with regards to quality of life following these types of breast reconstruction will be enhanced.