Funds will support leading research activities at Agency’s Vancouver and Vancouver Island Centres

May 18, 2010, Vancouver, B.C. - The BC Cancer Foundation today announced a $1 million gift from leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, Roche Canada (Hoffmann-La Roche) that will enable the BC Cancer Agency to significantly enhance and expand its research activity in two key areas over the next five years.

Roche Canada will donate $500,000 each to the Agency’s Tumour Tissue Repository (TTR), based in its Vancouver Island Centre in Victoria, and to its Breast and Gastrointestinal Cancers Outcomes Research Units, in the Agency’s Vancouver Centre.

This gift brings Roche Canada’s overall cumulative investment with the BC Cancer Foundation, to support the work of the BC Cancer Agency, to $2 million.

“This research investment is a major step towards a future of personalized medicine where cancer patients benefit from the right drug at the right time,” says Ronnie Miller, President and CEO, Roche Canada. “We truly value our long-standing partnership with the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency and we are thrilled to support this important research initiative.”

Acknowledging the gift, BC Cancer Foundation President Douglas Nelson said, “The BC Cancer Foundation is very grateful to Roche Canada for its generous and ongoing support of cancer research focused on improving patient outcomes, and for recognizing the BC Cancer Agency as a leading research organization in Canada.”

The Agency’s Breast and Gastrointestinal Cancers Outcomes Research Units are among its largest and most productive and collaborative clinical research groups. With the new Roche funding, their expansion will enable clinicians and researchers to better evaluate and analyze the impact of new treatments on patients and to build their research capacity at the Agency.

The Agency’s Tumour Tissue Repository (TTR) is a state-of-the-art research biobank that offers patients the opportunity to contribute to cancer research by donating their tissue, blood and their clinical data. As a research platform, it has supported over 10 research projects in the past year, and leads many biobanking activities within and beyond BC Cancer Agency.

Roche Canada’s gift will enable the TTR to increase its tissue collection, its distribution of biospecimins for research and to thus increase its support of clinical trials and outcomes studies across the Agency.

TTR director Dr. Peter Watson explained the importance of the new funding: “Linking features of tumours to patient outcomes allows us to better understand and guide treatments available today, and to target and predict response to new treatments tomorrow. Roche Canada’s support for our tumour biobanks and outcomes units makes this possible.”

Dr. Susan O’Reilly, BC Cancer Agency’s Vice President of Cancer Care said, “Roche Canada’s investment in sustainable funding for basic, applied and clinical research at the BC Cancer Agency will enable us to continue our pursuit of new knowledge of the factors influencing development, growth and spread of cancer cells and to conduct analyses to correlate the impact of new cancer treatments with patient outcomes.”

Cancer survivor Brenda Osmond added the patient’s perspective on the value of research: “I think the next breakthrough is just around the corner. But we won’t get around that corner without donor support of cancer research, so we can take a real run at improving treatments and ultimately preventing and curing cancer. So the very next person who gets diagnosed can benefit; so we all can benefit.”

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About the BC Cancer Foundation
The BC Cancer Foundation raises funds to support research and enhancements to patient care at the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority that provides a comprehensive cancer control program for everyone in B.C. and Yukon. For more information, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com

About Roche Canada
Roche Canada is a leader in the research and development of pharmaceutical and diagnostic solutions that look beyond today’s horizons and make a profound difference in people’s lives. For more information, visit www.rochecanada.com.

For more information:

Judy Hamill
Communications Specialist, BC Cancer Foundation
Email: jhamill@bccancer.bc.ca
T: 604-707-5934

Jessica McBay
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relastions, Roche Canada
Email: jessica.mcbay@roche.com
T: 905-542-5041