Unique partnership between Pfizer Canada Inc., federal and provincial agencies provide funding for multidisciplinary team

Dec. 4, 2012

(Edmonton, Alberta) Tuesday, December 04, 2012… A research team, funded through the Alberta/Pfizer Translational Research Fund Opportunity, is investigating why women who are treated with taxane chemotherapy often develop resistance to that chemotherapy, rendering it ineffective. Ing Swie Goping, PhD, along with physicians Judith Hugh, John Mackey, and Todd McMullen are examining better ways to predict who will develop chemotherapy resistance and what course of treatment would be beneficial for them.

Approximately 50 per cent of those treated for metastatic breast cancer develop resistance to the taxane chemotherapy they’ve undertaken to manage their disease. Chemotherapy treatments are given in cycles in order to allow the patient and their normal cells time to recover from the toxic drugs. However, this regimen does not always eradicate all tumors; some cells survive and evolve, becoming resistant to future rounds of treatment. This team of physicians and researchers are looking for a simple genetic test that would identify individuals who will develop chemotherapy resistance before their course of treatment.

The team is one of seven successful projects funded through the first competition of the Alberta/Pfizer Translational Research Fund Opportunity. “AIHS is pleased to lead the development of such a powerful partnership that is intended to identify and propel promising translational research in priority areas of health into commercial development,” says Jacques Magnan, PhD, CEO of Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.

The Alberta/Pfizer Translational Research Fund Opportunity includes investments from Pfizer Canada Inc., Western Economic Diversification Canada, the province of Alberta’s ministry of Enterprise & Advanced Education, and Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions. More than $2.5 million has been committed to identify and support promising health care innovations with market potential.

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