Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for North American clinical study
during Breast Cancer Awareness Month; 12 artists donate 13 original
works worth over $15,000 to support campaign
TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - WaveCheck — a painless, non-surgical clinical technique developed by a Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre oncologist and a Ryerson University physicist and supported by MaRS Innovation — is poised to transform chemotherapy response monitoring for women with
WaveCheck combines traditional ultrasound with new software to detect
responses to chemotherapy in breast cancer tissues. By making better,
more accurate information available about a woman's response to her
chemotherapy treatment in weeks, rather than months, WaveCheck creates
greater transparency through dialogue between a women and her doctors,
empowering her to participate in discussions about whether a given
chemotherapy treatment is effective.
Developed by Dr. Gregory Czarnota, chief of Radiation Oncology at Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre, and Michael C. Kolios, professor of Physics and Canada Research Chair in Biomedical
Applications of Ultrasound at Ryerson, WaveCheck has been used in
clinical studies with nearly 100 women receiving upfront, neoadjuvant chemotherapy to treat locally-advanced breast
cancer. These results are published in two leading journals, Clinical Cancer Research and Translational Oncology.
Watch Czarnota, Kolios and three of the 100 women who participated in
the first Sunnybrook study explain WaveCheck's impact in the Indiegogo campaign video.
"The hard truth for women with breast cancer is that 60 to 70 per cent
of chemotherapy treatments fail," said Czarnota, who is also a senior
scientist and director of cancer research at Sunnybrook Research
Institute. "The 1.5 million women worldwide who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year need to know that
their chemotherapy is working as soon as possible. But this kind of
treatment monitoring doesn't currently exist in standard clinical
practice. Instead, a woman's tumour response is evaluated after she
completes her chemotherapy treatment, which is typically a four- to six-month process.
"We believe that fast access to WaveCheck's analysis could give women
and their medical teams crucial insight into whether they've chosen an
effective treatment much sooner and, eventually, give insight into
whether to change her treatment if her tumour's not responding."
WaveCheck's key benefits:
Helps to identify when a woman's breast tumour is responding to chemotherapy.
Is completely painless for the woman.
Makes better information available faster—as early as one to four weeks into her treatment, long before the four
to six months it typically takes to complete a course of chemotherapy
and then see its resulting effect through magnetic resonance (MR) scans
or computed tomography (CT) scans.
Reassures a woman when her treatment is working, and may help to reduce the
understandable anxieties that come with taking chemotherapy.
Prompts better conversations between women and their medical teams about treatment decisions.
To make WaveCheck available to women everywhere as fast as possible,
MaRS Innovation seeks to raise $96,987 on Indiegogo from October 9 to November 27, 2013 and get the first of three North American clinical study locations
running in parallel with Sunnybrook's existing data. The campaign's
overall goal is to raise $687,950 to fund all three sites with WaveCheck's partners at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada; London Health Sciences Centre in London, Canada; and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, U.S.A.
"WaveCheck is in the last development stage in its journey from the
laboratory to the clinic, which is also where funding becomes hardest
to find," said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. "As WaveCheck's
commercialization agent, we provided $250,000 in seed funds along with
business development and intellectual property protection to bring
WaveCheck this far; it's cleared the proof-of-principle and prototyping
phases with flying colours. But successfully completing these parallel
studies is crucial in proving WaveCheck's data is replicable in any
clinic, convincing other doctors to eventually adopt the technique, and
accelerating the time it takes to bring it to clinics worldwide."
"Sunnybrook was joined by many funding agencies and foundations to
invest in the research underlying WaveCheck at much earlier stages,"
said Dr. Michael Julius, vice-president, research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "This
investment underscores that transformative research must be supported
at all stages along the innovation pipeline if we are to get it to
those who need it."
Supporting agencies include the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Terry Fox Foundation. Kolios holds a Canada Research Chair; Czarnota holds a Research Chair in Experimental Therapeutics and Imaging from Cancer Care Ontario.
"Sunnybrook and MaRS Innovation are building on this incredible support
by earmarking an additional $75,000 for that first study site, which
will be matched by the Indiegogo campaign donations," said Julius. "Together, we can help more women with breast cancer
"If these clinical studies replicate the early studies, we could use
this technology to monitor tumor response early in treatment and to
predict which patients will continue on in their therapy to have a
complete pathological response," said Wei Yang, M.D., professor of Diagnostic Imaging at The University of Texas MD
Anderson Cancer Center and clinician lead at the designated WaveCheck
study site. "On the other hand, for patients in whom the test indicates
a poor response to treatment, the regimen could be changed to a more
WaveCheck's Indiegogo campaign has received generous support from 12 artists across Canada and
internationally, worth a combined total of over $15,000:
Eight members of the Toronto-based Women's Art Association of Canada (WAAC) have donated nine original pieces as perks for WaveCheck supporters to claim, including "Don't Go Back to
Sleep," an original work commissioned in response to WaveCheck's images
and signed by the inventors.
Sonnet L'Abbé, Canadian poet and University of British Columbia lecturer, wrote and
designed "the moment came when I knew my body," a visual poem inspired
by WaveCheck's technology and available through the campaign perks as a
Other donations include a lap quilt from St. John's, Newfoundland and a
painting by Victoria, British Columbia artist Ashlee Trcka, making the artistic contributions truly Canada-wide.
Internationally, WaveCheck has partnered with WorldWideBreastCancer.com to make their innovative educational materials available to supporters,
continuing global education about the disease.
For more information about WaveCheck's vibrant artistic support, see the
Artists' Profiles on WaveCheck.ca. A FAQ is also available along with additional background, technical
details and photos: wavecheck.ca.
Image with caption: "WaveCheck Inventors and long-time research partners Dr. Gregory Czarnota of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (left) and Professor Michael C. Kolios of Ryerson University. (CNW Group/MaRS Innovation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131009_C8429_PHOTO_EN_31881.jpg
Image with caption: "WaveCheck comparison image: Yellow indicates where tumour tissue is responding to chemotherapy; red indicates no chemotherapy response. (CNW Group/MaRS Innovation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131009_C8429_PHOTO_EN_31880.jpg
SOURCE: MaRS Innovation
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