Ryan Dowling

Host institution

Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network (Toronto)

Granting agency


Project title

Identification of a molecular profile predictive of metformin sensitivity in human breast cancer

Project description

Ryan Dowling's current research involves testing the clinical and biological effects of metformin in breast cancer – both in cell culture models and in human patients. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Canadian women. Thus, there is a need to develop more effective anti-cancer agents and to identify patients who are best suited for targeted therapies. The drug metformin, which is used to treat type-2 diabetes, has emerged as a potential cancer therapy.

Ryan's research involves analyzing blood and tumour samples from breast cancer patients receiving metformin to assess the effectiveness of metformin as a cancer treatment and to understand its mechanisms of action and sensitivity. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a set of host and tumour factors that predict sensitivity to metformin, which can be used to identify patients who would benefit from metformin treatment.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the University Health Network, Ryan is involved in translational research, which involves the utilization of the knowledge, techniques, and experimental findings of basic science to enhance the practice of treating patients in the clinic. In particular, he has a strong interest in the characterization of anti-cancer agents in human patients, the identification of biomarkers to predict sensitivity to therapy, and the development of targeted cancer therapies.

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