Breast Cancer Initiative

Under the Canadian Breast Cancer Initiative (CBCI), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) provided a $3 million annual grant to the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA). When the Alliance concluded its research funding program in March 2010, PHAC transferred the $3 million it had been providing for breast cancer research to CIHR.

Since 2010, ICR has been managing these funds on behalf of CIHR under the CIHR Breast Cancer Initiative (CIHR-BCI). ICR is investing these funds in alignment with the overarching research priority themes recommended by the National Breast Cancer Research Framework document, which was developed in 2008 to guide all funders of breast cancer research in Canada. The framework, which was a result of extensive consultations among funders, breast cancer patients, survivors, and Canadian and international researchers, identifies existing and emerging research priorities, encourages collaboration among funders and articulates a call to action aimed at all members of the Canadian breast cancer community.

The six overarching research themes from the Framework that are followed by CIHR-BCI are:

  1. Mechanisms of breast cancer development
  2. Molecular Detection and prediction
  3. Personalized medicine
  4. Breast cancer progression and dissemination
  5. Psychological, Survivorship and Health Services
  6. Transferring Knowledge to Practice

To address these priorities CIHR-BCI takes a number of strategies:

Operating Grants in Breast Cancer

A Priority Announcement is placed biannually on the Open Operating Grant Competition to fund highly ranked breast cancer grants that fall below the funding cut off. From 2010 to 2012 CIHR-BCI has committed over $5 million to breast cancer operating grants. These grants include full term operating grants, which CIHR-BCI continues to support. More recently (since the Fall 2011 competition) these Priority Announcements are for one year bridge grants.

Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Survivorship

In 2010, CIHR-BCI partnered with the CIHR Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) in the Physical Activity, Mobility and Health Initiative. CIHR-BCI is supporting a team ($2.5M over 5 years) led by Dr. Kerry Courneya, the objective of which is to study physical activity and health-related fitness to improve breast cancer survivorship from the time of diagnosis and for life.

Targeted Breast Cancer Funds in Roadmap Signature Initiatives

The CIHR Signature Initiatives are large pan-Institute Initiatives that have been developed to deliver on the CIHR Health Research Roadmap second strategic direction: Address Health and Health Systems Research Priorities. CIHR-BCI has committed to supporting the Roadmap Signature Initiatives in Personalized Medicine and Community-Based Primary Healthcare.

  • Personalized Medicine Initiative: CIHR-BCI partnered on the Genome Canada and CIHR Personalized medicine co-launch: 2012 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition in Genomics and Personalized Health. In this competition, CIHR-BCI has committed to support research on individual large-scale research projects relevant to personalized medicine research strategies on prevention, accurate diagnosis, target validation and/or patient stratification for control of breast cancer. Research projects may include real-world evaluation of new technologies with existing approaches, and/or coordinated integration of technologies into health care services.
  • Community-Based Primary Healthcare Initiative: CIHR-BCI partnered on the Transformative Community-based Primary Healthcare Initiative funding opportunity in Feb 2012 to support research that enhances the understanding of care gaps, and accelerate the development of new or evaluation of existing promising models of Community Based Primary healthcare to: (1) improve early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship of breast cancer; and/or (2) integrate Personalized Medicine into breast cancer care such as physician and public engagement, education on personalized medicine, and patient decision tools.

Launch of Breast Cancer Fellowships in partnership with the Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC)

CIHR-BCI and BCSC are matching funding to support the Eileen Iwanicki Fellowships in Breast Cancer Research. The fellowships are named in memory of the late wife of the donor to the BCSC, who is providing the funds to the BCSC for its support of these fellowships. The fellowships are aimed towards trainees undertaking projects generally relevant to breast cancer research with an encouragement towards trainees involved in breast cancer imaging, translational as well as knowledge translation research.

Partnership with the Avon Foundation

The CIHR-BCI has partnered with the Avon Foundation for a Priority Announcement to fund at least one full highly ranked breast cancer grant from CIHR's Open Operating Grant Competition. The Avon Foundation is interested in research to further the development of breast cancer prevention strategies. Research questions eligible for funding include those related to the research priorities of the Avon Foundation and the priorities from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Framework.

Young Women with Breast Cancer

ICR is currently planning a joint Initiative with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation focused on Young Women with Breast Cancer.