The fourth edition of the annual brain cancer fundraiser, A Brilliant Night, has raised a further $1M for research into developing better therapies to combat this terrible disease.
More than 800 people gathered for A Brilliant Night on October 18 at Montreal’s Windsor Station for this chic cocktail dinatoire. Attendees sipped on champagne and enjoyed gastronomic delights donated by some of the city’s finest dining establishments.
When the totals were added up it was announced that more than $1M had been raised for the Brain Tumour Program of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro). Researchers there are developing individualized brain cancer treatment programs, known as precision medicine. This treatment approach for brain cancer allows doctors to tailor treatment to patients' biological characteristics.
Already, funds from A Brilliant Night have allowed them to make an important discovery. Using RNA sequencing, the researchers determined that brain cancer cells diverge from normal healthy cells at the stem cell stage. Stem cells are special cells that can become any cell in the brain. The equivalent cells in cancer give rise to all the cancer cells and drive tumour growth. Identifying and targeting these cells is an exciting new avenue of brain cancer treatment.
With these new funds, the researchers plan to apply these findings to clinical trials in human patients in the next one-to-two years.
“This discovery is significant because it is the key to developing new therapeutic targets to prevent cancer cells from duplicating and spreading,” says Dr. Kevin Petrecca, Chief of Neurosurgery at The Neuro and head of its Brain Tumour Program. “This concept, that just a short time ago seemed like an impossibility, is now reality.”
“When I was asked to join this cause, I immediately said yes,” says Nathalie Pilon, A Brilliant Night’s honorary committee chair. “I think the research the whole team is doing at The Neuro is just fabulous and we need to support causes like this.”
This year’s A Brilliant Night was sponsored by BMO Financial Group, CIBC, National Bank Financial, CN, Desjardins, ABB, Agropur, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, CGI, Construction CAL, Courchesne Larose, Fednav, KPMG, Logistec, Metro, Oxford, Rossy Family Foundation, Transcontinental, Bell, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Jammers and Telus.