Astrazeneca Invests $2.1 Million in Support of Cancer Research in BC

Date Posted: 
2010-03-04

Investment recognizes world class oncology research and development expertise at BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver Prostate Centre.

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – AstraZeneca Canada is pleased to announce a $500,000 investment to support oncology research and development at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA). This adds to the $700,000 Vancouver Prostate Centre investment made in January, and represents a significant collaboration with leading British Columbia breast and prostate cancer researchers.

"We are very proud to support these research projects and the world renowned physicians who undertake them," said Mark Jones, President of AstraZeneca Canada. "We are committed to working collaboratively with organizations such as the BCCA, to improve the lives of cancer patients. We believe these initiatives will help address real-life needs."

The first of three key research projects looks at genomic characterizations of prostate and genitourinary cancers. This work will be conducted in collaboration with the Vancouver Prostate Centre at Vancouver Hospital. The second supports new ways of encouraging adherence to cancer treatments, as well as looking for particular biomarkers in breast cancer patients receiving hormonal therapies. And the third aims to find better measures of quality of life for clinical trial cancer patients.

"Understanding the genetic changes in cancers in relation to their response to treatment is fundamental in developing new individualized therapies," says Dr. Kim Chi, Chair of the Genitourinary Tumour Group and medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, and researcher with the Vancouver Prostate Centre at Vancouver Hospital. "With this new funding from AstraZeneca we will be able to work on a number of innovative research projects which will hopefully one day lead to the development of more targeted therapies."

In addition to the BCCA grant, the Vancouver Prostate Centre will receive funding over a two year period, to investigate the effectiveness of early stage therapies in treatment resistant prostate cancer, an area of high unmet need. The research will try to better understand novel ways of blocking a specific protein, called the androgen receptor. This receptor plays a key role in the tumour developing resistance to current treatments.

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