McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Chemotherapy research gets critical investment

Published: August 14, 2012
Anna Dvorkin-Gheva
Anna Dvorkin-Gheva

McMaster University’s Anna Dvorkin-Gheva received a $119,000 grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to study drugs that can be combined with current chemotherapy to make it more effective.

The post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences was among eight McMaster researchers, who received nearly $1.8 million in grants from the foundation to support research projects and fellowships. Across the province, $9.9 million in grants was awarded.

Dvorkin-Gheva will study the effects chemo-sensitizers have on breast cancer tumours. Instead of looking at new treatment options that would take time before becoming the preferred therapy by practitioners, she is looking to modify existing therapies in order to bring better care to patients sooner.

"I know people who are currently living with breast cancer and it has been hard to see friends go through such difficult treatments," Dvorkin-Gheva said. "What I really want to do is to provide hope by making established treatments more effective and increase survival rates."

The drugs Dvorkin-Gheva is looking at within her research are already established compounds with a lot of information compiled about them, which will hopefully be a strong base of knowledge to work from and help to develop improvements faster.

Current anti-cancer drugs don’t provide a complete cure and patients with a subtype breast cancer that is particularly aggressive (triple-negative) have much lower survival rates in the years following treatment, with only 30 per cent of patients treated surviving more than five years.


Other McMaster researchers to receive funding through the CBCF’s fellowship program

  • Punam Rana
    Chemoprevention in Breast Cancer
    Area of focus: Prevention
    Funding approved: $143,000 over 2 years
  • Robin Hallett
    Identification of agents that overcome endocrine resistance
    Area of focus: Treatment
    Funding approved: $47,500 over 1 year
  • Hanxin Lin
    Screening for novel inhibitors to block breast cancer-induced bone pain
    Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer
    Funding approved: $142,500 over 3 years
  • Justin Kale
    Characterization of Bax Activation Mechanism in Human Breast Cancer
    Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer
    Funding approved: $112,500 over 3 years

McMaster researchers to receive research projects grants

  • Anita Bane
    Prognosis in Basal-like Breast Cancer (BLBC)
    Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis
    Funding approved: $380,918 over 3 years
  • John Hassell
    Role of acetylcholine receptors in breast cancer
    Area of focus: Biology of Breast Cancer
    Funding approved: $449,400 over 3 years
  • Tim Whelan
    Prospective Cohort Study Evaluating Risk of Local Recurrence Following Breast Conserving Surgery Alone in Low Risk Luminal A Breast Cancer
    Area of focus: Early Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis
    Funding approved: $444,752 over 3 years

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