A scientist at Brandon University (BU) is the recipient of a $75,000 grant for her research into breast cancer detection.
The Breast Cancer Society of Canada awarded the $75,000 research grant to the project being led by Dr. Mousumi Majumder, who is also BU’s Canada research chair in genotoxicology.
“We are very fortunate to receive this grant in the precision medicine category. We’re the only one from Manitoba who received this one,” Majumder said in an interview on Monday.
“I feel very honoured to be one of the grantees this year.”
The grant will support Majumder’s work over three years as she examines tissue to identify blood biomarker identifiers that could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Majumder’s previous research showed that certain microRNAs are found in high levels in breast cancer cells. Her team is now working to investigate the role of microRNAs in breast cancer, and identify a biomarker that can detect breast cancer in the blood. This would mean that a blood test could help identify women who are at risk.
“The long-term goal of this research is to find biomarkers, which can detect cancer at a really early stage,” Majumder explained.
According to BU, one in eight Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. The university noted that the cases of women being diagnosed under the age of 50 are increasing; however, women don’t typically qualify for screening until the age of 50.
“We are not catching the group between 35 to 50, who are having cancer at an early stage,” Majumder said.
“Because the detection techniques are painful and invasive, unless you have a problem you diagnose by yourself, you do not go and see your doctor.”
Majumder is working with other researchers at BU, as well as experts in the field of breast cancer research on the project.
“Our team is so strong and collaborative and the data we provided was convincing so we received the grant this year,” she said.