Breast Cancer Foundation grant awarded for the study of a potential new drug therapy

August 27, 2014

Drs. Angel Arnaout, Christina Addison and Mark Clemons have been awarded a three year grant valued at $448,959 by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to further study the drug Chloroquine, a safe and inexpensive medication that is commonly used to treat malaria and arthritis. In recent tests, Chloroquine has been shown to prevent autophagy (Greek for “self-eating”), which is the process by which cancer cells cannibalize their proteins when they are growing too quickly and unable to absorb nutrients and oxygen fast enough. Autophagy can keep cancer cells alive even while they are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation designed to kill them. Dr. Arnaout will use the grant money she received to test whether Chloroquine can prevent autophagy in patients with breast cancer who are awaiting surgery. Patients will take either Chloroquine or a placebo in the two to eight weeks leading up to surgery and the effects on breast tumours will be observed. If Chloroquine is found to prevent autophagy, thus resulting in the death of cancer cells and the shrinkage of tumours, it will provide a new and safe treatment for breast cancer patients that can immediately be used in clinics. Read details of the grant award.

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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