The Doggone Foundation donates $150K to the MUHC Foundation to support breast cancer research

The gift supports liquid biopsy research for breast cancer, an innovative screening test that detects tumour DNA via a sample of blood.

Montreal, May 15th 2024— As part of its mission to support health care across Quebec, The Doggone Foundation has pledged a gift of $150K to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation to support the MUHC’s cancer researchers as they advance precision breast cancer care. From their generous contribution to the construction of the Glen site to their championing of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (Mi4) and lifesaving innovations in cardiovascular research, the Doggone Foundation continuously demonstrates its commitment to advancing health care.

“We are on the precipice of major, life-changing breakthroughs in breast cancer research, and the Doggone Foundation is happy to champion the research taking place at the MUHC. Our gift is funding some of the greatest minds in medicine, and that translates to better care and innovation right here in Quebec. At the end of the day, we want to see our community thrive.”

Paul Marchand, President of the Doggone Foundation

The Doggone Foundation’s gift is supporting the work of Dr. Sarkis Meterissian, Director of the MUHC Breast Clinic, Dr. Julia Burnier, Scientist in the Cancer Research Program of the RI-MUHC, and Dr. Morag Park. They are working on finding a breast cancer signature through liquid biopsy, an innovative cancer screening test that detects tumour DNA circulating in the body using a sample of blood. This non-invasive test is the first of its kind and will make it so that breast cancer is always detected early enough to treat.

“Supporting the work of Dr. Meterissian, Dr. Burnier and Dr. Park is personal for me because I know how much this disease can take away from you and how invasive current protocols are. Our gift to the MUHC Foundation underscores our belief in the MUHC’s researchers who will change the face of this cancer. I want to contribute to a society where all women facing breast cancer are given the most precise, personalized treatment throughout the course of their disease.”

Susan Avon, Director, Doggone Foundation

In most cases, breast cancer is treatable in up to 80% of patients. But that’s not enough, especially when some subtypes are resistant to existing treatments.

“At the MUHC, we have the science, and we have access to a rich biobank of cancer tissues that is teaching us about the genetic make-up and weaknesses of different variations of the disease. But we need to locate the specific breast cancer signature so that we can make early detection part of the care protocol, and ensure that the cancer never progresses to a point where it’s life threatening. The support of the Doggone Foundation ensures that we will get to see this in our lifetime.”

Dr. Sarkis Meterissian, Director of the Breast Clinic

Liquid biopsy is especially exciting because it provides a very clear advantage against cancer—it can predict recurrence before a tumour forms. The data coming out of Dr. Burnier’s lab also provides a new look at different cancer types, including breast cancers. This will empower researchers to develop treatments that will target and destroy specific types of cancer, and find the signatures needed for early detection.

“We’re so excited about liquid biopsy because it’s changing the very landscape of cancer detection. The impact will be huge, because it means that we will be able to detect breast cancer while it’s in its early stages, and most treatable. It will allow us to make incredible strides in personalized and less invasive cancer monitoring.”

Dr. Julia Burnier, Scientist, RI-MUCH and the Cancer Research Program

Liquid biopsy is already showing promising results for other cancers, and a breast cancer signature study is part of a larger project to ensure that everyone can benefit from this personalized, precision approach.

“The MUHC Foundation is grateful to the Doggone Foundation for their ongoing generosity and support of our mission to advance cancer care in Quebec. The impact of this donation towards discovering a breast cancer signature cannot be overstated; it marks an exciting moment in precision cancer research. Together, we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible—and every dollar translates to more lives saved.”

Marie-Hélène Laramée, President and CEO, MUHC Foundation.

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