New cancer treatment coming to B.C. thanks to $18M donation
The BC Cancer Foundation is bringing a cutting-edge cancer treatment to the province after receiving a staggering $18.34 million from an anonymous donor.
The historic act of philanthropy is being used to establish a new Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics program, which will develop radiopharmaceuticals – drugs with radioactivity – through clinical trials.
"Emerging research proves that radioactive particles can deliver drugs directly to the site of metastatic cancers, killing the cancer cells and saving the healthy tissue surrounding them," the BC Cancer Foundation said in a news release.
The program is being led by Dr. François Bénard, leadership chair in functional cancer imaging. Over the next five years, the foundation expects to expand its infrastructure and scale-up development of radioactive isotope treatments.
Bénard said medical isotopes have already been used to treat thyroid cancer for years, but the massive donation will help researchers expand their application.
"We have recently developed probes that bind specifically to cancer cells enabling us to apply this technology to treat many more cancers, notably prostate," Bénard said in a statement.
"With these game-changing funds, our team at BC Cancer can address the urgent need to improve outcomes for thousands of people in our province who are diagnosed with incurable cancer each year."
According to the foundation, the number of new cancer cases in B.C. is expected to balloon by 40 per cent over the next 10 years as the population grows and ages.
The first trials will focus on men with incurable prostate cancer, but there is hope the research will lead to new treatments for melanoma, breast, ovarian, pancreatic and blood cancers – an uplifting development made possible by the BC Cancer Foundation's mysterious donor.
"Today marks an important moment in cancer research and care in Canada with one of the largest donations ever made to bring new treatment solutions to patients," foundation president Sarah Roth said in a statement
Roth said the massive anonymous donation is "grounded in hope and science with an opportunity to save lives here in B.C., across the country and globe."
The Aqueduct Foundation delivered the anonymous donor's millions in the form of a philanthropic grant.