Brain Cancer Canada Funds Canadian Research Aiming To Treat Brain Cancer
October 24, 2021
Brain Cancer Canada has issued a $100,000 grant to Canadian research exploring new frontiers of brain cancer treatment. Drs. Cynthia Hawkins and Roman Melnyk will receive the funds for their ground-breaking attempt to target high-grade gliomas (HGG). HGGs are aggressive and incurable brain cancers, such as glioblastoma, with an almost 100% fatality rate and no effective treatment. The funds were made available thanks to the generous support from sponsors, including Scotia Wealth Management, Yamana Gold, and Hampton Securities.
Drs. Hawkins and Melnyk are developing a potential therapeutic approach that targets the RAS pathway. RAS can become dysregulated, causing cell growth and cell survival of HGGs. Their research aims to create a protein chimera called RRSP-DT that can address all the diverse ways RAS becomes dysregulated, bringing it back to a normal state. The therapy, if successful, could benefit patients diagnosed with pediatric or adult HGGs.
“This funding will allow us to follow up on our exciting early studies suggesting the protein chimera developed in Dr. Melnyk’s lab may be a promising new therapeutic approach to treat high grade gliomas,” said Dr. Hawkins, neuropathologist and Senior Scientist, Cell Biology at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto.
High-grade gliomas are a group that includes various brain cancers, which are particularly aggressive. The estimated two-year survival rate is 20%, despite the current standard of care that includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In addition, these diseases deteriorate the quality of life for patients as they progress. However, research into treatments and technologies to combat these types of cancers is tragically underfunded. Less than 3% of all governmental cancer funding is devoted to brain cancer research.
“We remain strongly committed to supporting the fight against high-grade gliomas by funding research, treatment and technology,” said Brain Cancer Canada chair Angela Scalisi.“Our volunteer-based organization has already been able to give full funds to two Canadian research projects this year. We are so proud to support these brilliant scientists who endeavour each day to fight what is without a doubt one of the most lethal diseases we face”.
“We know the best therapy we have to fight HGGs is still ineffective for the far majority of the patient population,” said Marc Peeters, Director Partnerships and Stakeholders at Brain Cancer Canada. “This research opens up new avenues to find better therapies, which both child and adult patients need. We are incredibly grateful to our donors, and we urge our governments to join us in funding research that is in an early stage but promising enough to warrant investment. We need to make bigger bets to achieve life-changing results for those patients who need it so much. It has been 15 years since the last therapy breakthrough, and patients cannot afford another decade-and-a-half of waiting”.
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