University of Windsor’s researcher Lisa Porter is no stranger to receiving grants for research into different forms of cancer.
But the recent announcement of her Porter Lab being awarded $25,000 from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada has plenty of meaning for her.
“This is the first formal grant process (the society) has offered,” Porter explained.
“Breast cancer is so prevalent. Approximately 28,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. On average, 78 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day — That’s one in eight Canadian women.”
Since 2004, Porter’s cell biology lab at the local university has embarked on research programs in fields such as tumour suppression, brain cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
Past grants received by the lab include $1 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study glioblastoma, the aggressive form of brain cancer that took the life of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie.
While the $25,000 contribution from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada is small in comparison, Porter said every additional resource is helpful, especially after the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Porter Lab’s breast cancer program focuses on “triple negative” breast cancer — a kind of breast cancer that does not currently have targeted treatment methods.
“It’s a very aggressive form of breast cancer,” Porter said. “This is a multi-disciplinary team, in collaboration with Windsor Regional Hospital.”
“The neat thing about (the program) is that we have a patient advisory group. We’re working with a group of local breast cancer survivors, and really getting their input. Research really depends so much on patient involvement, when you get to the clinical level.”
Porter is quick to credit her lab’s full-time personnel and students. She believes we have been seeing the promising growth of cancer research in Windsor-Essex.
“A lot of the vision and energy comes from the leaders in the lab,” Porter said.
“I think we have an opportunity to start thinking about retaining all these bright minds in Windsor-Essex — what we can do to encourage them to stay here, so that the work they do can benefit patients here.
“For me, that’s the future.”