ichael Dufresne congratulates grant recipients Josée Jarry, Sindu Kanjeekal, and John Hudson.Seeds4Hope administrator Michael Dufresne congratulates grant recipients Josée Jarry, Sindu Kanjeekal, and John Hudson.

Grant funding to nurture local cancer research projects

Three University of Windsor researchers will receive a total of almost $228,000 in two-year grants from the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation to address the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The foundation announced the results of its Seeds4Hope grant competition Wednesday, with three projects winning awards:

  • John Hudson, professor of biological sciences, $80,000 for “Plk4 haploinsufficiency as a genetic predisposition for hematological malignancies,” to study the role of this protein in the development of certain blood cancers in the hopes of providing new markers for their detection;
  • Josée Jarry, professor of psychology, $70,680 for “Ashtanga yoga for women with breast cancer: a feasibility study,” to investigate whether this challenging form of yoga can mitigate the long-term mental and physical effects of treatment on breast cancer survivors; and
  • Sindu Kanjeekal, an adjunct professor in biological sciences and oncologist at Windsor Regional Hospital, $77,236 for “Identifying a genetic signature that predicts progression of non-invasive urothelial carcinoma to an invasive cancer,” to explore a way of predicting which patients are at greatest risk of their bladder cancers metastasizing.

All three projects involve large cross-disciplinary teams of co-investigators and collaborators.

The seed funding provided by the foundation serves an important role in developing new avenues of investigation, says Dr. Hudson.

“This work is at a very early stage,” he says. “This funding provides an opportunity to get these projects off the ground and to establish research partnerships between local clinicians and researchers.

“This framework will allow us to contribute to the body of knowledge on cancer, will produce publishable results and will enhance the ability of local researchers and clinicians to compete for larger grants and to make a difference.”

Seeds4Hope administrator Michael Dufresne says the awards demonstrate the strength of the local cancer research culture.

“The hope in research reflects its potential,” he says. “Each of the projects supported by Seeds4Hope is a work in progress; its potential will only be fully realized in its future application to benefit our children and grandchildren.”