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SU2C Canada-Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Dream Team: Translational Development of Novel Drugs Targeting Tumor Vulnerabilities

Tak W. Mak, PhD

Tak W. Mak, PhD

Professor of Medical Biophysics and Immunology
University of Toronto
Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

​Samuel Aparicio, BM, BCh, PhD, FRCPath

​Samuel Aparicio, BM, BCh, PhD, FRCPath

Nan and Lorraine Robertson Chair in Breast Cancer Research
University of British Columbia
Head, Department of Breast and Molecular Oncology
BC Cancer Agency


Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women in Canada and the United States. For triple-negative breast cancer and other aggressive forms of breast cancer, treatment options are limited. The Dream Team seeks to expand the range of options by accelerating the development of three new drugs. The first, called CFI-400945, inhibits an enzyme that drives division and proliferation of cells in cancer. The second, CFI-402257, inhibits a molecule that also seems to drive the cancer process. The third, CX5461, works by binding to the replicating DNA and stopping the cell’s copying machinery in its tracks.

The Team is also using state-of-the-art approaches to help determine how the three drugs can be used most effectively against breast cancer. All three are in early-stage clinical trials to pave the way to larger trials.

Progress to Date

The SU2C Canada-CCS Breast Cancer Dream Team is developing new treatments for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and other aggressive breast cancers, which now lack targeted therapies. The team is focusing on three drugs that exploit genomic weaknesses in the makeup of these cancers. These are agents called CFI-400945, CFI-402257, and CX5461.

All three drugs have been tested in Phase I clinical trials. The team has also conducted non-clinical research to sharpen its understanding of biomarkers that can help guide usage of the drugs.

If successful in the larger trials, these drugs could potentially have a significant impact on a patient population that currently has a limited range of treatment options.

Amount of Funding

$9 million CAD


  • Morag Park Ph.D, Goodman Cancer Research Centre and McGill University
  • Kathleen Pritchard, MD, University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre of Toronto
  • Karen Gelmon, MD, BC Cancer Agency


  • ​Randy Mellon, patient advocate
  • Zuri Scrivens, patient advocate
  • Wendie den Brok, MD, co-chief resident, medical oncology, University of British Columbia