University of Windsor cancer research taps new funding source

The source of the latest funding for cancer research at the University of Windsor is almost as important as the funding itself according to researcher Lisa Porter.

When the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research recently announced $100,000 to back the work Porter and her team are conducting on cancer-related proteins it marked a historical first for the area.

“That’s one of the most important things connected to this funding,” Porter said. Monday. “I think we’re the first OICR funded project in Windsor.”

A spokesman for the OICR confirmed that Windsor did receive funds for the first time, thanks to Porter’s efforts.
Porter described the grant as “kind of a first level. Once we get this money we can roll it forward into further funding if the study works out.”

Porter, a biology professor, is working in collaboration with fellow prof John Trant as they look at how the body’s family of protective proteins can be lost or blocked by aggressive cancers and what drugs can be developed to counteract that effect.

OICR’s funding will allow Windsor researchers to develop a “synthesis of drugs” in a search for those that show therapeutic promise.

Further funding would be needed to make and screen the drugs.

“It’s wonderful for us to be connected to OICR because they have a lot of tools and resources,” Porter said. “They’re the experts and this opens the door for us to accelerate discovery in Windsor.”

Porter added the upside of developing effective drug treatments is their availability to Windsor patients.

Getting a financial nod of support from OICR will also raise the profile of Windsor’s research lab.

“Not a lot of people know that we develop new drugs here and we screen new drugs here,” Porter said.

OICR announced awards of $100,000 to each of four “early accelerator projects” in Ontario last week.

“The four projects are aimed at discovering treatments for a number of cancer types, including breast, brain, thyroid, pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancers,” the media release said.

“These projects are great examples of the innovative thinking that is driving the success of Ontario’s cancer drug discovery sector,” said Dr. Laszlo Radvanyi, OICR’s president and scientific director, in a statement.

The four funded projects were selected from 18 applications by a panel of international experts.

The funding is part of OICR’s Cancer Therapeutics Innovation Pipeline (CTIP) initiative. Awardees can also seek advice and guidance from a CTIP advisory committee culled from a group of industry and academic experts.

Source: The Windsor Star