Metastatic breast cancer is significantly under-researched and underfunded
in the breast cancer space.
We know that metastatic breast cancer issues are all of our issues — we cannot do our best work in helping people with breast cancer live better and live longer without doing so for
the metastatic breast cancer community.
And so, with our MBC Advisory Board at the forefront of this work, we are choosing to focus on issues that are pertinent to the metastatic breast cancer community. This is research informed by patients, for patients.
Rethink and Pfizer Canada joint RFP
In 2021, Rethink Breast Cancer partnered with Pfizer Canada to launch a joint research program to fund pioneering research in metastatic breast cancer that has the potential to advance care and improve outcomes for people living with metastatic breast cancer. The areas of interest were determined by patients, for patients, through collaboration and input from Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board, and inspired by the James Lind Alliance‘s top 10 research priorities for MBC.
This collaboration brings patients’ voices and values to the process of supporting quality improvement initiatives to make a difference in the daily lives of people living with MBC. And this initiative has been made possible by the generous support of the Rethink community—especially MBC Allies—for our MBC Fund, by the passion and determination of our MBC Board, and by the openness of Pfizer Canada in collaborating to respond to the needs of those living with breast cancer.
We continued this program with a 2022 RFP, and are so happy to be continuing it for a third year with a 2023 RFP with Pfizer Canada.
Healthcare professionals from institutions across Canada are invited to apply to the joint 2023 Pfizer Canada / Rethink Breast Cancer RFP to help address the unmet needs of MBC patients.
Read more from MJ DeCoteau, Rethink’s Founder + Executive Director, on the collaboration and how it came to be, here.
Requests for Proposals (RFP)
2023 RFP Grant Recipients
With this project in its third year, Rethink Breast Cancer and Pfizer Canada were very proud and excited to announce the recipients of over $200,000 in grants for their work in developing innovative strategies to measurably improve the quality of care for people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
A priority in this project is centering the voices of people living with MBC and their families. As such, we were guided by the unique and unmet needs they outlined in committing to funding the following proposals:
• Sinai Health System: In recent years, metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has been increasingly diagnosed in younger women, however little attention has been paid to the unique challenges faced by this particularly vulnerable group. The goal of this project is to develop an innovative virtual educational program, tailored to the unique needs of young patients with MBC. The key impact of the program will be in the use of innovative technology to enhance access to comprehensive, up-to-date, and highly actionable information that improves the lives of young patients with MBC.
• University of Calgary: Patients living with metastatic breast cancer can access a lot of information online, yet few sites include supportive and palliative care resources that prevent or relieve suffering. This program will bring together patients, caregivers, doctors, and nurses to choose the best online supports. They will be added to a free, online “Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Platform.” Patients will test supports for ease of use and helpfulness. Importantly, this project promotes equity and will give patients control of how and when they get information they need to feel well even when their cancer is worsening.
• BC Cancer Vancouver Center: This project seeks to quantify and improve upon racial and ethnically determined disparities in outcomes for patients with metastatic breast cancer in British Columbia. It will be done utilizing real-world evidence from the existing provincial breast cancer outcomes unit databases along with new patient intake questionnaires and conducting qualitative interviews to engage stakeholders. This will ultimately support advocating for system reform and better address the needs of patients who self-identify as part of a minority group by implementing a co-developed intervention.
Grant recipients were determined by a joint review panel comprised of Pfizer Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer representatives, members of Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board and medical experts. Areas of interest identified within the joint Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in January 2023 were determined with patients and for patients, through collaboration and input of the Rethink Breast Cancer team and MBC Advisory Board.
Funded projects are expected to begin in September 2023 with anticipated completion dates of December 2025. Read more here.
2022 RFP Grant Recipients
Rethink Breast Cancer and Pfizer Canada were very excited to announce the recipients of the nearly $280,000 in grants for the implementation of innovative strategies aimed at measurably improving the quality of care for people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). In its second year, the collaboration between Pfizer Canada and Rethink is grounded in a commitment to prioritizing the voices and values of people living with MBC.
Guided by the unique and unmet needs identified by people living with MBC and their families, Pfizer Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer have committed to funding the following proposals:
• Oncology Outcomes: Data are frequently lacking for recurrent or relapsed cases, which represent a significant proportion of metastatic breast cancer patients. The overarching goal of the proposed work is to develop machine learning data algorithms to identify breast cancer recurrences or relapses more readily. This work will enhance the potential for real-world evidence to inform the quality and care of MBC, particularly in underserved communities where resources for conventional quality improvement initiatives may be limited.
• Princess Margaret Cancer Centre: The goal of this project is to develop a clinical trials nurse navigator-led virtual care pathway for MBC patients, designed to support patient access to clinical trials and genomic sequencing. This project will improve the awareness of trial opportunities at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with community oncologists and their patients and enhance patient access to genomic profiling. This will help guide future treatment decisions and support the decision-making and satisfaction of MBC patients in Ontario.
• Women’s College Hospital: Black women in Canada are often excluded from educational and informational supports designed for women with breast cancer. This project will address disparities in MBC-related care for those marginalized due to race, with a specific focus on Black women with breast cancer, by providing relevant information and supports in a first-of-its-kind resource hub. The overall goal of this project is to improve the care of Black women living with MBC.
Grant recipients were determined by a joint review panel comprised of Pfizer Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer representatives, members of Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board and medical experts. Areas of interest identified within the joint Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in January 2022 were determined with patients and for patients, through collaboration and input of the Rethink Breast Cancer team and MBC Advisory Board.
Funded projects are set to begin September 2022 with anticipated completion dates of December 2024. Read more here.
2021 RFP Grant Recipients
Rethink announced the recipients of nearly $270,000 in research grants for the implementation of innovative strategies aimed at measurably improving the quality of care of people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Guided by the unique and unmet needs identified by those with MBC and their families, Rethink Breast Cancer and Pfizer Canada committed to funding the following research proposals:
• St Mary’s Research Centre (Quebec)—The systematic screening of patients’ symptoms and the challenges they face can serve as a tool to improve patients’ lives. The goal of this program is to implement an electronic patient-reported outcome symptom screening and management program for better tailored treatment and care of women with MBC.
• Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Alberta)—This program will create & deliver an evidenced-based forum of MBC-related topics to patients living with and undergoing treatment for MBC by experts in the field of breast oncology. The goal of the program is to empower patients in the shared decision-making process related to their care.
• BC Cancer Vancouver — This program will aim to improve the quality of care for older people living with MBC. A dedicated nurse navigator will work with patients, caregivers and health care professionals to match patients with resources that best meet their needs. The project will examine if this intervention improves the quality of life of elderly patients and their caregivers.
Grant recipients were determined by a joint review panel comprised of Pfizer Canada & Rethink representatives and members of Rethink’s Metastatic Advisory Board.
“The programs funded by these grants are so important for the MBC community and are an important component of our ongoing work,” says Nathalie Baudais, MBC thriver, cancer research advocate, and co-chair of Rethink’s Metastatic Advisory Board. “We know the value of engaging patients and their caregivers in their health and decision-making, and we look forward to seeing how this can be further encouraged and implemented.” Read more here.