McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

IDEA grant explores new therapy for breast cancer

Published: March 6, 2007
Jonathan Bramson
Jonathan Bramson, associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Jonathan Bramson, associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, has received a $98,448 IDEA grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA).  IDEA grants support innovative, new research ideas that are speculative, but have the potential for advancing scientific knowledge.

Treatment with Herceptin (trastuzumab) has been proven to be an effective therapy for patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. However, this therapy is very expensive and requires multiple outpatient infusions to achieve sufficient levels of Herceptin in the blood stream.

Bramson’s team is proposing to develop a vaccine that could produce antibodies with an activity similar to Herceptin, but that would require fewer injections and should be considerably less expensive. Additionally, the antibody response produced by this vaccine is expected to last longer than the one obtained with Herceptin injections. Successful development of this proposed vaccine would have benefits for breast cancer patients in terms of reduced costs, improved convenience and enhanced effectiveness.

IDEA grants finance small-scale pilot studies or investigations of concepts to permit the investigator to test new ideas, which, although based on good science, are outside of existing conventional research paradigms and could be deemed speculative. The expectation is that these ideas, once explored, will lead to the development of proposals for more extensive research grants.

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