TEC Edmonton

Personalizing breast cancer treatment

Why do cancer therapies work better for some rather than others?

Ing Swie Goping, UAlberta biochemistry researcher and professor, discovered a biomarker (BAD) that could provide an answer and the possibility of personalized breast cancer treatment. The biomarker can predict how someone will respond to taxane chemotherapy treatment which is used to treat breast, ovarian, prostate and lung cancer and other cancers.

Basic research leads to discovery
Focusing on breast cancer treatment, Goping discovered the more BAD protein you have the better taxane treatment works. Likewise, the less you have the less likely taxane will work. Therefore, the biomarker could be used to screen patients for taxane chemotherapy.

Applying research results to benefit society via commercialisation
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Canadian women. Canadian Cancer Society statistics show 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer and 1 in 28 will die from it. Taxane chemotherapy is used to treat thousands of Canadian women every year however acquired resistance is a major clinical problem for 50-70% of those treated.

Goping’s discovery could help develop a diagnostic test to personalise breast cancer treatment based on drug receptivity. She is working with TEC Edmonton to move her research from the lab to patients. TEC helped her file a patent application and is now looking for an industry partner to take Goping’s discovery to the next stage. Goping said without TEC Edmonton, she would not have known how to move the knowledge and technology into the clinic and community.