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Seeds4Hope administrator Michael Dufresne congratulates research grant recipients Lisa Porter, Phillip Karpowicz and James Gauld.Seeds4Hope administrator Michael Dufresne congratulates research grant recipients Lisa Porter, Phillip Karpowicz and James Gauld.

Local grants provide Seeds4Hope in research to fight cancer

Three UWindsor researchers won two-year grants totalling $233,500 as seed funding to support new projects, the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation announced Wednesday.

Biochemistry professor James Gauld will analyze which mutations in cancer-related proteins such as tuberin are capable of forming cancer, a study that ultimately could allow researchers and clinicians to make more informed decisions about combination therapies that are most likely to yield successful results in patients with these mutations.

Biology professor Phillip Karpowicz will test how colorectal cancer is affected by day-night cycles, specifically whether these cycles elevate colorectal cancer risk, and if maintaining normal sleep cycles can help prevent it, a study that in the long-term should help predict the optimal times of chemo and radiation therapies for colorectal cancer as well for many different cancers.

Biology professor Lisa Porter will examine the role of a cancer-related protein discovered by the Porter lab (Spy1) that appears to play a role in the progression of the most common liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, a study which introduces a genetic component that may ultimately serve as a valuable diagnostic indicator or a target for therapeutic intervention that would advance care for all patients with HCC.

The funding makes a total of almost $1.7 million awarded to local cancer researchers through the Seeds4Hope grant awards program since its inception in 2009. Administrator Michael Dufresne said the investment will show its value in the future application of results.

“But the potential for future success in the long term can be measured in the short term by monitoring several indicators of progress such as publications, collaborations, and clinical trials,” he said. “From these indicators, it is clear that Seeds4Hope funded research is playing a significant role in advancing cancer care in our community and beyond.”