Every other year, Wild Pink Yonder has ridden for the Alberta Cancer Foundation with the proviso that our money is used for breast cancer research. I think it’s safe to say all of us have been good with that. But this year, Alberta Cancer Foundation asked if we’d like to ride for a specific research grant. Here’s the scoop.
Every day six Albertans are diagnosed with breast cancer. (Horrendous, isn’t it?) Many will receive a chemotherapy treatment called”taxane”. Taxane is an effective drug that can improve cancer survival — but there’s a catch. It only works about half the time.
Around the world, thousands of patients receive this treatment, yet less than 50 per cent respond favourably to it. The other half of the patients are taxane-resistant, but they won’t know it until the treatment is over, which means squandering precious time that could have been used to explore other treatments. Worse yet, that means every year hundreds of Albertans will undergo this unnecessary (if it’s unsuccessful) treatment and be faced with long-lasting and harsh side effects. What kind of side effects? Fatigue, immune system suppression, hair loss and peripheral nerve damage.
Enter two researchers here in Alberta (our old friend, Dr John Mackey from The Cross and Dr Ing Swie Goping from the U of A) who want to identify the biomarkers that would clinically predict sensitivity to chemotherapy. Dr Goping already 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’s right, it will mark the first-ever predictive biomarker for taxane chemotherapy!
That is what they want us to help fund! They need $1.3 million. Riders, towns and sponsors — we need to reach higher in our fundraising. Let’s give ‘er!