Game-Changing Discovery in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Published in Stem Cells Journal

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The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – BC/Yukon Region (CBCF) is thrilled to announce a game-changing discovery in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). This breakthrough points to one of the first personalized therapies for the treatment of TNBC and reports that RSK inhibition has the potential to block TNBC recurrence.

Pictured, from left to right: Dr. Sandra Dunn, Kristen Reipas and Dr. Anna Stratford

Pictured, from left to right: Dr. Sandra Dunn, Kristen Reipas and Dr. Anna Stratford

The breakthrough research of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – BC/Yukon Region’s (CBCF) Doctoral Breast Cancer Research Fellows Kristen Reipas and Dr. Anna Stratford will today be published in the highly recognized medical journal, Stem Cells.

Supported by University of British Columbia (UBC) Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Sandra Dunn, trainees Ms. Reipas and Dr. Stratford have identified a protein critical to the survival of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. This breakthrough research has the potential to cure TNBC by targeting a protein called RSK2, which eliminates TNBC cells completely. The study, published June 5, 2012 in Stem Cells medical journal, reports that RSK2 inhibitors have the ability to kill all of the cells including cancer stem cells which give rise to cancer recurrence. This cutting-edge discovery will potentially personalize the treatment of TNBC on an international scale.

"RSK2 inhibition provides a novel therapeutic avenue for TNBC and holds the promise of being one of the first targeted therapies for this challenging form of breast cancer," says Dr. Sandra Dunn, UBC.

TNBC is diagnosed in approximately 400,000 women worldwide and is considered the most difficult breast cancer subtype to treat due to lack of effective therapies. Dr. Dunn’s laboratory at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital led the project in collaboration with scientists from Breakthrough Breast Cancer UK and the University of Aukland NZ.

This project began four years ago when UBC Post Doctorate Fellow Dr. Stratford of the Child & Family Research Institute was awarded $214,000 by CBCF BC/Yukon to support her research on this project entitled “The regulation of the Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1) by p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) in triple-negative breast cancer.”

In addition, a doctoral candidate in the Experimental Medicine Program at UBC, Kristen Reipas was awarded $35,000 in support of this research study, entitled “Targeting Y-box binding protein-1 eliminates tumor-initiating cells and reduces relapse in triple-negative breast cancer.”

The BC/Yukon Region of CBCF is proud to award the Breast Cancer Research Postgraduate Fellowships every year to the most qualified breast cancer research projects across the province. These awards are intended for qualified health care professionals, MD graduates or recent PhD graduates to provide assistance in launching a career as independent, social, clinical or basic science investigator in breast cancer research.

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – BC/Yukon Region

The BC/Yukon Region of CBCF was established in 1992 to make a difference in breast cancer research and breast health for the BC population. Every year CBCF, along with its donors, sponsors and partners, raises funds to support unique and innovative initiatives in prevention, early detection, treatment, research and emerging issues in the health care workforce.

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Sydney Nusbaum

Sydney Nusbaum
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