Microbubbles and ultrasound offer new hope to future breast cancer patients

Promising new breast cancer therapy receives $1M boost from Breast Cancer Society of Canada

SARNIA, ON, July 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Future breast cancer patients facing a difficult-to-treat form of the disease may have new hope in an innovative treatment being devised by researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

A team of experts from Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre - with a $1-million boost from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada - is studying how combining microbubbles and ultrasound in pre-clinical models can make locally advanced breast tumours more responsive to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Locally advanced breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease that is resistant to treatment and has an extremely high mortality rate within two years of diagnosis. These tumours, typically found in women between ages 35 and 45, are five centimetres or larger and grow at an astounding rate.

Sunnybrook research has found that the tiny microbubbles begin to bounce and expand when heated with focused ultrasound, straining the blood vessels of the tumour. The cancer cells become leaky and weak. When a tumour is targeted in this manner prior to radiation in pre-clinical models, there is significant enhancement of the radiation effect and tumour destruction.

"The $1-million boost from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada is going to allow us to scale up these treatments and move them out of the laboratory and into breast cancer patients in the next three to five years," says Dr. Greg Czarnota, radiation oncologist and lead on this research. "This is definitely a world first happening at Sunnybrook."

"The Breast Cancer Society of Canada is dedicated to supporting medical breakthroughs that can have an impact on patient care," said Marsha Davidson, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Society of Canada. "That's why we've chosen to support Dr. Czarnota's research - the speed and success of this therapy could dramatically improve therapy for women with locally advanced breast cancer."

Dr. Jon S. Dellandrea, president and CEO of Sunnybrook Foundation, said the gift is an excellent example of the innovations in treatment made possible through donor support.

"We are extremely grateful for this investment from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada," said Dr. Dellandrea. "Sunnybrook's goal is to invent the future of health care, and this type of visionary support is essential if we're to conduct the research, develop the treatments, and provide the care necessary to realize that goal."

The Breast Cancer Society of Canada's mandate is to donate funds for two specific kinds of research: seed funding for basic research, and project-based funding for translational research. Translational research helps turn new discoveries into new approaches to patient care as quickly as possible.

The Breast Cancer Society of Canada has been supporting breast cancer research at Sunnybrook for three years, and has donated more than $1.2 million.

About the Breast Cancer Society of Canada
The Breast Cancer Society of Canada is a registered, national, not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to funding Canadian breast cancer research into the detection, prevention, treatment and to ultimately find a cure for the disease that women fear most. For more information please visit www.bcsc.ca.

About Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook is an internationally recognized leader in research and education, and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for Canada's war veterans, high-risk pregnancies, critically ill newborns, adults and the elderly, and treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and psychiatric disorders, orthopedic disorders and traumatic injuries. For more information about how Sunnybrook is inventing the future of health care, please visit www.sunnybrook.ca

SOURCE Breast Cancer Society of Canada

For further information:

Sherline Joe
Media Profile
Direct: 416-342-1852

Natalie Chung-Sayers
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Direct: 416-480-6150 ext. 2250

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Breast Cancer Society of Canada

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