Project Overview

 

Today , it is generally believed that one of the biggest risk factors contributing to cancer is an individual’s genetic makeup. However, little is known about the relationship between specific genes and their functions within the context of cancer.

The first phase of this project aims to create a genetic profile of breast tumour patients. The primary goal of this DNA database is to identify “cancer genes” – genes that are linked with tumours. A DNA database will help scientists identify patients at risk for cancer and will also contribute to better preventative care that in turn, will reduce the incidence of cancer. Additionally, by associating the “behaviour” of specific tumours with specific genetic markers, a genetic database helps predict how, if and when a tumour will spread and whether or not it will respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Physicians will be able to use the database as a tool to make more accurate prognoses, diagnoses and ultimately to better determine more appropriate courses of action for treatment.

The second phase of this project will eventually allow us to attack tumours directly using Short Interfering Ribo Nucleic Acids (siRNA). A novel approach to fighting cancer, gene therapy provides us with a weapon against cancer that permeates the entire human body, yet remains exponentially more targeted than current methods of treatment.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics Group, McGill University, and to Dr. Svetlana Sadekova for allowing me to join her research group and present this project.


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