In the fall of 2020, the Cancer Research Society (the Society) and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (the Foundation) jointly launched the “100 Years of Research” competition. Today, they are announcing the names of the two (2) researchers who will each receive $500,000 for their research projects on metastatic breast cancer.

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

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

Thanks to a 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.

“Without grants like this, we would not be able to pursue and conduct cutting-edge research that can improve the survival of these women. With your help, we hope to lessen the impact of breast cancer on their lives and the lives of their families.” – Dr. Mark Basik, Recipient

Dr. Morag Park, supported by Anne-Marie Fortier, Geneviève Deblois and Francis Rodier, focuses on the cells of the most aggressive form of breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Specifically, she looks at the residual tumours that become resistant to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).

Concretely, Dr. Park and her team seek to develop a better understanding of the transition that cells undergo which makes them resistant to treatment so that we can prevent and counter resistance. This proposal of a “one-two punch” approach will allow the researcher 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 metastasis promoting tumour cells.

“Our team is made up of researchers with complementary expertise to meet this significant challenge. Without this grant, we would not have been able to assemble this team. This is a unique opportunity! Thank you to all the donors for believing in the power of cancer research” – Dr. Park

The selected research projects have undergone a rigorous evaluation process; we rely on peer review which is a tried-and-true method to ensure quality and excellence in scientific research. A committee, comprised of 10 researchers and clinicians, generously donated their time to review and select the most promising projects.

“The Cancer Research Society is proud to join efforts with the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and financially support these two projects, which will benefit breast cancer patients and the advancement of research.” – Dajan O’Donnell, Director, Scientific Affairs and Partnerships, Cancer Research Society

“People living with metastatic breast cancer face incredible challenges due to the incurable nature of their disease, but the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is proud to collaborate with the Cancer Research Society to develop targeted and innovative treatments to improve the prognosis of this community.” – Fanny Guimont-Desrochers, Director of Investments and Health Promotion, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation

You can find the grantee profiles on the Society’s website:

This article was originally published on the website of the Cancer Research Society:

About the Cancer Research Society

Founded in 1945, the Cancer Research Society is one of the only Canadian organizations exclusively dedicated to research into all types of cancer. Since its inception, the Society has supported thousands of researchers who have made significant advances in cancer prevention, screening and treatment. In 2021, 80 research grants valued at $9.6 million were awarded; an organization record. Thanks to the generosity of partners and donors throughout Canada, the Society has distributed over $340 million in research grants since its creation.

About the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation

The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is the only philanthropic organization to ensure that the benefits of its investments in breast cancer research stay here in Quebec. In over 26 years, it has raised more than $57.5 million and invested it in Quebec in cutting-edge research and in defending the interests of breast cancer patients and their loved ones. Through research and innovation, support and education, it ensures that people with the disease and their families remain the real focus of its mission.

Families, researchers, volunteers and donors all share the same hope: to increase the survival rate of people affected by breast cancer to a true cure. Follow the QBCF on social media via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et Instagram.