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Canadian Cancer Organizations Team Up to Focus on New Approach to Metastatic Breast Cancer


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At a press conference at McGill University, Stand Up To Cancer Canada (SU2C Canada), the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced the launch of the SU2C Canada Metastatic Breast Cancer Dream Team to pursue the development of a new drug combination that may help stop the spread of breast cancer to other organs of the body.

The team will receive up to $6 million CAD supported by SU2C Canada, the CCS, and the CIHR. The first phase of funding ($2 million CAD) will support the initial clinical trial. Dependent upon positive outcomes of that initial work, subsequent phases of funding will support additional preclinical and clinical studies. All SU2C Canada Dream Teams will undergo semiannual progress reviews. Scientific management and oversight are supported by SU2C Canada’s Scientific Partner, American Association for Cancer Research International–Canada.

Nahum Sonenberg, PhD

Nahum Sonenberg, PhD

Michael Pollak, MD

Michael Pollak, MD

Leading the team is Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, Professor and Gilman Cheney Chair in Biochemistry of the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal. Serving as Co-Leader is Michael Pollak, MD, who holds the Alexander Goldfarb Research Chair in Cancer Research at McGill and directs the Division of Cancer Prevention of the Department of Oncology. Dr. Pollak is a senior investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

The pan-Canadian clinical trial planned by the Dream Team will involve about 40 patients receiving treatment at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and McGill University in Montreal.

Focus of Team’s Research

The SU2C Canada Metastatic Breast Cancer Dream Team is investigating a new way to treat metastatic breast cancer by making it impossible for breast cancer cells to manufacture the proteins they need to continue to spread to organs beyond the breast.

The Dream Team is taking the small-molecule inhibitor of the kinases MNK1/2 eFT508 (tomivosertib) and using it to block the out-of-control production of proteins. The agent is known to inhibit the translational process but has not yet been applied to metastatic breast cancer. It will be given, in combination with paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel, to patients with metastatic breast cancer for whom the standard of care has not been effective. 


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