A powerhouse group targets breast cancer

A collective of internationally renowned researchers joins forces to target this common cancer, combining their unique perspectives and specialties in a search for the cure.

Adrianna MacPherson - 16 September 2019

Despite advancements made over the past decades, breast cancer is still the second-leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women.

The Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta (CRINA), a translational science institute, has more than 40 members within its 120-plus researcher membership whose work specifically targets breast cancer. They study the disease from multiple faculties across the university, bringing their diverse perspectives and specialties to the problem.

This collaborative approach means that we are able to gain an understanding of the disease on a vast spectrum, from the level of the individual molecules and cells that have an impact to the role of the whole body in battling the disease. CRINA co-director Lynne-Marie Postovit researches the molecular mechanisms by which breast cancers evade therapy. Other researchers, such as Catherine Field and Vickie Baracos, take a larger view and examine nutrition and body composition and the way both impact survival in patients.

The involvement of individuals such as John Mackey, director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the Cross Cancer Institute, means that research can progress to the next stage through investigator-led clinical trials that take discoveries from the laboratory bench to actual patients. David Eisenstat, chair of the University of Alberta Department of Oncology, also recently become an Alberta node leader with the Terry Fox Research Institute, replacing now-retired Carol Cass.

"We will make a difference for breast cancer patients right here in our community and also throughout the province, the country and the world," said Postovit.