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Collaborative Research Provides New Hope for Those Fighting Breast Cancer

Wednesday July 29th, 2015, 9:56pm


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New funding for a collaborative research project between Windsor Regional Hospital and the University of Windsor will look for new and better ways to treat women with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

UWindsor biology researcher Lisa Porter along with Windsor Regional Hospital Oncologist Caroline Hamm recently received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Transitional Operating Grant of more than $765,000 in support of their work, Novel Cell Cycle Regulation in the Initiation and Therapeutic Intervention of Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The funding will support the project over five years.

Their research focuses on triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that commonly affects the youngest group of breast cancer patients. UWindsor’s Porter Lab has identified a protein known as Speedy, or Spy1, that drives aggressive populations of cells in triple negative breast cancer to grow, and impacts how responsive individual patients are to select drugs.

The Porter lab will use a mouse model, human cells, and patient samples to determine whether Spy1 and related proteins provide a signature to identify triple negative breast cancer patients who will respond to specific treatments. They will also address whether targeting Spy1 represents a valuable therapeutic direction for patients with this form of aggressive breast cancer.

“We are very excited to work with Windsor Regional Hospital and partnering institutions in Michigan to help us move these discoveries forward” says Dr. Porter. ”The ultimate goal is to improve survival rates for patients with this aggressive form of disease. Doing the research in Windsor will give patients in Windsor/Essex the added benefit of access to these advancements before any other region.”

Both Drs. Porter and Hamm are members of the Windsor Cancer Research Group (WCRG), an assembly of local researchers and healthcare professionals working to strengthen local cancer research programs. This latest project is an extension of previous work funded by the Canadian Cancer Society/Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, and the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation Seeds4Hope program.

“Windsor Regional Hospital is very proud of the amazing research that is being conducted by the WCRG and the University of Windsor. This type of announcement is an example of the health care system we are planning and building in Windsor/Essex,” says David Musyj, President & CEO Windsor Regional Hospital.

“The University of Windsor recognizes the importance of translating the work of our researchers to the community we serve,” says K. W. Michael Siu, UWindsor Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “We look forward to continuing research partnerships that strengthen and support the type of vital work that will make a difference in the lives of the people in our region and the world.”

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