Announcement – Development of a New Diagnostic Technique for Targeted Treatment of Breast Cancer
New Diagnostic Technique for Targeted Treatment of Breast Cancer

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CQDM, Vega BioImagerie and Pfizer Canada Fund the Development of a New Diagnostic Technique for Targeted Treatment of Breast Cancer:

Montreal, March 21, 2024 – CQDM is proud to announce the funding of a collaborative research project led by Michel Meunier, professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montréal, in partnership with Vega BioImagerie, a young Quebec startup resulting from research carried out at Polytechnique Montréal, and Dr. Dominique Trudel, pathologist and researcher at the CHUM. Funding of this collaborative research project, for a total amount of $537,071, is made possible thanks to a grant from the Government of Quebec of $203,052 granted by CQDM and a financial support from Vega BioImaging, Polytechnique Montréal and Pfizer Canada.

Breast cancer patients whose tumors have HER2 gene amplification have seen their life expectancy significantly increase thanks to treatment with trastuzumab. Patient eligibility for this treatment is determined via tumor HER2 expression levels, but current techniques have a significant error rate, as well as low sensitivity, resulting in delayed diagnosis.

The research team plans to validate a new cutting-edge technique based on counting gold nanoparticles to enable precise quantitative assessment of HER2 expression. The specificity of this technique having already been demonstrated on cell lines, the researchers are now testing it on breast cancer tissues that have already been characterized.

Collaborative research offers Québec businesses diversity of expertise that is crucial to innovation. Researchers in the life sciences are indispensable. Their discoveries make major advances in health possible and have a tangible affect on people’s lives,” says Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.

CQDM strongly supports this collaborative research project, which involves not only academic institutions, but also private companies of all sizes. This public-private collaboration demonstrates a nice and solid complicity targeting essential innovations for patients in Quebec and around the world. » underlines Diane Gosselin, President, and CEO of CQDM.

This funding represents a crucial catalyst for breast cancer diagnosis. It will allow us to deepen the research that we have been carrying out for several years in this area at Polytechnique, to develop even more precise and accessible tools, thus offering tangible hope to patients” declares Michel Meunier, professor at Polytechnique Montréal and co- founder of Vega BioImaging.

This multidisciplinary collaborative research project represents a major potential for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Studying HER2 gene tumor expression on already characterized breast cancer tissues will make it possible to identify patients who will respond best to targeted therapies and thus offer a personalized, precise, and effective treatment approach according to the unique characteristics of each patient,” underlines Dr. Dominique Trudel, pathologist, and researcher at the CHUM.

We are very pleased to participate in this clinical validation with renowned experts in biomedical nanotechnology and pathology. At Vega BioImaging, we firmly believe that the growth of personalized medicine in oncology depends on improved diagnosis. We are excited to share the results of this promising collaboration and to continue our efforts to push the boundaries of personalized medicine in oncology” says Cécile Darviot, CEO, and co-founder of Vega BioImaging.

This project will represent an important contribution to precision medicine for the treatment of breast cancer. Indeed, the eligibility of patients for dedicated treatment will be determined thanks to this new, more robust, and faster approach which can be easily integrated into analysis laboratories across Quebec while reducing costs for the health system. The proof of concept resulting from this project will help propel the young Montreal start-up Vega BioImaging in its development and help it position itself as an emerging company with high potential in the field of diagnostic tests.

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of the largest engineering teaching and research universities in Canada. The establishment is located on the campus of the University of Montreal, the largest French-speaking university complex in America. For fall 2023, Polytechnique welcomes more than 10,000 students, offers some 120 programs and has more than 300 professors. Its overall annual budget amounts to $300 million, including a research budget of $100 million.

About Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)

The Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal is an innovative hospital serving patients. It offers the best specialized and subspecialized care to patients and the entire Quebec population. Thanks to its unique expertise and innovations, it improves the health of the adult and aging population. As a hospital center of the University of Montreal, the CHUM has a vocation of care, research, teaching, and health promotion, as well as evaluation of technologies and methods of intervention in health to continually improve the quality of care and the health of the population. Since fall 2017, patients and their loved ones have enjoyed a renewed hospital experience in the new CHUM facilities. For more information, visit: https://chumontreal.qc.ca

About Vega BioImaging

Vega BioImaging is a young start-up from the laboratory of Professor Meunier, from Polytechnique Montréal. Our mission is to create rapid and accurate diagnostic tests to improve the prediction of the effectiveness of targeted treatments in oncology. Our multi-target protein quantification solution is compatible with the analysis of tissues and cytological samples. For more information, visit: https://vegabioimaging.com/

About Pfizer Canada Inc.

Pfizer Canada ULC is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that help extend and improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products. Our diverse portfolio of healthcare products includes some of the world’s best-known and most prescribed medicines and vaccines. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, X ou YouTube.

About CQDM

Facilitator of biopharma innovation

CQDM is a not-for-profit biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to support and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborative R&D aimed at accelerating the translation of innovative technologies into solutions that address unmet medical needs, while generating significant benefits for the Quebec and Canadian economy. For more information, please visit the website: www.cqdm.org  

Media Contact:

Carl Baillargeon

Senior Director – communications and marketing

CQDM

514 926-9196

cbaillargeon@cqdm.org

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