Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2nd Annual Comfort Heart Studentship Award - Jason McConnery

In July while I was home in Halifax I had the pleasure of meeting Jason McConnery. Jason was the recipient of the Comfort Heart Studentship Award this year. We met in the lab at Dalhousie where he explained his work through an excellent presentation. Next, we had lunch with Jason's supervisor, Doctor David Hoskin and my friends from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Halifax.

Jason's project focused on the possibility of using (10)-gingerol, a compound derived from ginger, as an alternative treatment for breast cancer.  The reasoning behind this is that natural products like (10)-gingerol have often been shown to have anti-cancer activity, with very little toxicity to healthy cells even in high doses.

In summary (and I hope I am getting this right) Jason concluded the very first steps in the development of (10)-gingerol as a breast cancer drug. He established that the drug does have killing effects on breast cancer cells and that it is occurring by apoptosis (a safe, natural way for cells to die.)  In his summary Jason shared that he has much more work to do and will be pursuing this through his honours work.

Jason is a brilliant young man. He watched his own grandmother battle breast cancer and is determined to be part of the team to find the cure.

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