100 Years of Research Competition

Dr. Mark Basik & Dr. Morag Park , Canada

2 Researchers Receive $500,000 to Fight Metastatic Breast Cancer

The Cancer Research Society (the Society) and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (the Foundation) jointly launched the “100 Years of Research” competition in the fall of 2020. The two (2) researchers who will each receive $500,000 for their research projects on metastatic breast cancer have been selected and we are pleased to announce them today.

Launched through the combined efforts of both organizations, this competition to ensure the continuity of breast cancer research specifically aims to develop and enhance excellence in scientific research (preclinical/translational) in order to offer people afflicted by metastatic breast cancer (stage 4) the most innovative treatment possible.

Dr. Mark Basik

Dr Mark Basik

The researcher chose cancer research because it’s a field that fascinates him. In particular, he is interested in the potential and impacts of biology for cancer patients- something that drives him to push the envelope and propose new avenues of discovery.

Specifically, he tackles breast cancer research because it is common among women. In this current project, he will focus on metastatic breast cancer.

Dr. Mark Basik wants to examine the cells surrounding the tumour when they spread beyond the breast (to the liver, lungs, skin or brain) because in such cases the cells generate an environment surrounding the tumour which protects it from treatment, rendering treatment ineffective. 

The grant made possible through this competition will allow Dr. Basik to make this project a reality.

Thanks to new technology, Dr. Basik will look separately at the cells that support and surround the tumour, as well as the tumour cells, to better understand how they function. Ultimately, new treatments could be developed based on his discoveries.

“Without grants like these, we would not be able to pursue and conduct cutting edge research that is likely to improve survival for these women. With your help, we hope to be able to mitigate breast cancer’s impact on their lives and on the lives of their families.”

Dr. Morag Park and Her Team

Dr. Morag Park

As stated by Dr. Morag Park, enormous progress in cancer research has improved results and quality of life for patients with breast cancer, but there is still work to be done; we need to work together to face the challenge of metastatic illness.   

That is one of the reasons that Dr. Park, supported by Anne-Marie Fortier, Geneviève Deblois and Francis Rodier, is focusing on cells from the most aggressive form of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC); specifically, the residual tumour cells that become resistant to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and increase the risk of metastases.  

Concretely, this team of researchers seeks to develop a better understanding of the transition that cells undergo which makes them resistant to treatment in order to prevent and counter that resistance. This proposal of a “one-two punch” approach will allow the researchers to use approved and emerging treatment called anti-senescence and epigenetic therapies to target the vulnerabilities of current NAC treatments in triple-negative breast cancer residual tumour cells.   

“Our team is composed of researchers with complementary expertise so that we can face this major challenge. Without this grant, we would not have been able to bring this team together; it is a unique opportunity! Thank you to all the donors for believing in the power of cancer research.” – Dr. Park

These researchers have to potential to make breakthroughs and we are so proud to be supporting them alongside the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.

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