Every day, 6 Albertans are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many will receive Taxane Chemotherapy, an effective drug that can improve cancer survival. But it only works half the time.

Thousands of patients receive this type of treatment around the world, yet fewer than 50 per cent respond favourably. The other half of patients are taxane-resistant, but they won’t know it until the treatment is over, squandering precious time that could have been used to explore other treatments.

Cathy Conroy is one of those Albertans hoping for a better way to predict who will benefit from certain therapies.

So far, no biomarkers have been clinically proven to predict sensitivity to chemotherapy. But Dr. Ing Swie Goping at the University of Alberta and Dr. John Mackey at the Cross Cancer Institute, are hoping to change that. Dr. Goping garnered attention in the world of cancer research when she discovered that a protein, called BAD for short, made cancer cells more sensitive to taxane chemotherapy. Her team believes that the higher the levels of BAD protein in the tumour, the better chance the patient has of responding favourably.

If she is right, it will mark the first-ever predictive biomarker for taxane chemotherapy.

The Alberta Cancer Foundation has committed $1.3 million to this research program and we invite you to be part of this transformative opportunity.

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