Ontario Leading Fight Against Breast Cancer

    McGuinty Government Supporting New Approach To Early Detection

    TORONTO, Jan. 23 /CNW/ -


    Ontario has been chosen to lead the development and evaluation of new
technologies for detecting breast cancer.
    Hamilton was selected by GE Healthcare
(http://www.gehealthcare.com/caen/) to be the first site in the world to
receive new prototype technologies for use in a molecular breast imaging
research program. Hamilton researchers will design and lead clinical trials to
evaluate new technologies which use molecular imaging probes that target
breast cancer. This cutting-edge strategy has the potential to find very small
tumours, leading to early intervention. Trials will be geared towards
high-risk women who are not currently well served by mammography.
    GE Healthcare chose Hamilton because of the strong partnership among the
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (http://www.oicr.on.ca/), the Centre for
Probe Development and Commercialization (http://www.imagingprobes.ca/), and
the Oncology and Nuclear Medicine programs at McMaster University
(http://www.mcmaster.ca/home.cfm) and Hamilton Health Sciences
    The Ministry of Research and Innovation has committed almost $435 million
since 2003 to support the world-leading work of these institutions, and is
contributing $450,000 toward the project through the Ontario Institute for
Cancer Research.


    "The scientific breakthroughs we make here will help Ontario families -
and millions of people around the world - to live better, healthier, longer
lives," said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson

    "Our goal is for cancer to be diagnosed at the earliest stage. These
technologies may have a significant impact on care for high-risk patients
whose tiny tumours cannot be seen by mammography. We hope this will lead to
earlier detection, better treatment and ultimately, save lives," said Dr. Tom
Hudson (http://www.oicr.on.ca/Research/hudson.htm), President and Scientific
Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

    "The opening of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization
(CPDC) in Hamilton has resulted in a link between government, researchers,
healthcare providers and industry. The CPDC and its partners are working to
develop and evaluate cutting edge technologies, which may have the potential
to detect and diagnose diseases like cancer earlier and with greater accuracy
than is now possible," said Dr. John Valliant
(http://www.imagingprobes.ca/contact-us/staff-directory/john-valliant/), CEO
and Scientific Director.


    -  Each year in Ontario, 8,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

    -  According to the Mayo Clinic, when localized breast cancer is caught
       at an early stage, the survival rate is 98 per cent.

    -  Ontario is the largest hub of life sciences activity in Canada and the
       fourth largest biomedical research centre in North America.


    Find out more about the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

    Find out more about Ontario's Innovation Agenda


    Find B-roll of cancer research happening at the Ontario Institute for
Cancer Research (OICR)

                                                      Disponible en français



    "At GE Healthcare, we are dedicated to early detection, and developing
technologies to better manage breast disease. We are thrilled with the
possibility of bringing to Ontario and to the CPDC a new breast imaging
technology platform, the first of its kind, to be utilized as part of their
clinical study."
    Peter Robertson, General Manager, GE Healthcare Canada

    "The molecular breast imaging project is great news for Hamilton, Ontario
and Canada. Being the world's first site to receive these GE Healthcare
technologies speaks to the expertise of our clinicians and researchers. It
also symbolizes the power of what can be achieved through collaboration
between clinical, research, industry and government partners in the interest
of advancing knowledge to improve patient care."
    Murray Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton Health

    "These new technologies provide us with a novel method for potentially
detecting malignant breast lesions that are difficult to find and for
measuring response of breast cancers to therapies such as chemotherapy. This
initiative will benefit from Ontario Clinical Oncology Group's expertise in
clinical trial design and conduct, and the track record of the breast cancer
disease site group of the Juravinski Cancer Centre. Most importantly, this
project will result in new knowledge and the hope for a brighter tomorrow."
    Dr. Mark Levine, Chair of Department of Oncology at McMaster University, 
  and head of cancer research at Hamilton Health Sciences.

    "Hamilton continues to lead the way in nuclear medicine research with the
goal of enhancing patient care. Today's announcement will give us the
opportunity to study technologies which may help detect breast tumours sooner
so that we can improve the care of individuals with breast cancer. The
physicians and technologists of the Department of Nuclear Medicine are excited
to work with our research and health care colleagues to evaluate this new
imaging tool."
    Dr. Karen Gulenchyn, Chief, Nuclear Medicine, Hamilton Health Sciences &
St. Joseph's Health Care Hamilton

    "As my family has been directly impacted by cancer, I am personally
pleased that McMaster University and our partners are taking such an important
global initiative in breast cancer research. Our collaboration with the
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the new Centre for Probe Development
and Commercialization, our hospital partner Hamilton Health Sciences, GE
Healthcare and the Government of Ontario holds much promise for early
diagnosis and better outcomes."
    Dr. Peter George, President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

    "One of the global challenges in cancer is that it is diagnosed late in
the disease process, leading to a poorer outcome than when the tumour is
small. Our goal is to be able to detect a tumour when it can be removed at an
early stage. We are supporting the Centre for Probe Development and
Commercialization, which is working on new radiopharmaceutical probes to
diagnose breast cancer. We are funding this new imaging project, which uses
the CPDC's probes, because the technologies may have a significant impact on
care. We hope that it will offer patients with tumours too small to be seen by
mammography, long-term cancer-free survival."
    Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for
Cancer Research

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067;  Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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