“The saying, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has,’ likely wasn’t referring to a charity golf tournament,” says BC Cancer Foundation President & CEO Sarah Roth. “And yet, that’s exactly what Country Meadows Senior Men’s Golf Club has done in their 23 years of incredible support.”
Richmond’s Country Meadows Charity Golf Classic has raised more than $1.6 million to fuel BC Cancer’s Dr. Marianne Sadar’s groundbreaking prostate cancer research — including the discovery of a new drug, currently showing great promise in clinical trial.
Back in 1999, Dr. Sadar discovered that an androgen receptor might be the driver of prostate cancer growth in patients who had undergone treatment to reduce testosterone, which had kept the disease at bay initially. Thanks to the Country Meadows’ team, who leapt in with early investment, she proved her theory and the breakthrough was covered by media around the world.
“Calls came from the U.K., the U.S. and other countries. Patients came to my door. It was bittersweet because now we had an idea about what was causing the cancer to grow but I needed to test about 60,000 drugs to find one or two potential candidates to develop further. This would take my lab 30 years, for which it would be impossible to find funding. Little did I know that Country Meadows would make my dream a reality,” says Dr. Sadar.
The golf charity purchased state-of-the-art robotics for Dr. Sadar’s lab that accelerated the drug discovery process to just a few years. In 2010, her research revealed a new class of drugs that could help patients with advanced prostate cancer. Five years later, the first drug to be discovered and developed at BC Cancer for clinical trial went into testing for patients whose cancer had evaded other treatments.
The drug showed signs of working, and an even better, second-generation version developed in 2020 is currently in clinical trials.
“Country Meadows dedication, passion and desire to make a difference has accelerated my research by decades. Without their support the discovery of this new drug would not have happened. If this potentially life-saving treatment is successful it will be thanks to them, and the game of golf.”