Release Date: September 3, 2010
Media Contact: Dale Johnson, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5439
Mobile: 306-536-4312
Fax: 306-585-4997
University of Regina scientist obtains funding for breast cancer research

University of Regina researcher Dr. Andrew Freywald at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has received $343,962 to examine what drives the aggressive behaviour in breast cancer cells. Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related mortality among Canadian women with approximately 22,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. His research project will study the molecular mechanism triggering breast cancer invasiveness, which is responsible for more than 90 per cent of breast cancer-related deaths.

"We have recently shown that the cell-surface molecules, called Eph receptors, define the invasive activity in breast cancer. Our current project focuses on the mechanisms used by these molecules to control breast cancer invasiveness and metastasis, or the spread of cancer tumours to other parts of a person's body," says Freywald.

The identification of these mechanisms is expected to lead to the development of new types of drugs targeting metastatic breast cancer. For people with breast cancer, this could mean the development of new efficient therapeutic approaches that can block the progression of breast cancer and significantly decrease the number of deaths.

The funding is from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA). In addition to providing support for Freywald's research, this award will potentially open up at least three more graduate student positions at the University of Regina over the next three years. The graduate students will be exposed to top-quality biomedical research and to the most up-to-date experimental approaches in Freywald's laboratory, which should strongly enhance their professional development and future progress in science- or medicine-related careers.