Federal, provincial research support bring $1.2 million to BU lab for breast cancer study

April 28, 2021

Federal and provincial research agencies will join with suppliers to provide more than $1.2 million in support of a new laboratory at Brandon University (BU).

The Genotoxicology Research Laboratory will be the home base for Canada Research Chair
Dr. Mousumi Majumder’s work to learn more about breast cancer and its indicators. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Research Manitoba are providing $457,197 each, with suppliers making in-kind contributions valued at $310,568.

Head and shoulders photo of a woman

Dr. Mousumi Majumder

A Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Genotoxicology, Dr. Majumder is studying how microRNAs in blood could be used as biomarkers that reveal the presence of breast cancer. The blood test would be less invasive than current detection methods and could spot breast cancer, even in its early stages.

“One in eight women in the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. On the eve of World Cancer Day 2021, the World Health Organization declared breast cancer as the most diagnosed cancer worldwide. This is extremely alarming,” said Dr. Majumder. “Early diagnosis saves lives because we have made tremendous improvements in the therapeutic regimen. But present testing is very invasive, and regular breast-cancer screening of women doesn’t begin until age 50. This is a particularly large issue in rural areas, where cutting-edge detection and treatment are unavailable, and cancer awareness is poor. Our objective is to facilitate early diagnosis and to develop connections between our research program and the community to increase cancer awareness.”

The funding will be used to provide infrastructure, including equipment, for the Genotoxicology Research Laboratory, as well as to train student research assistants.

“Dr. Majumder’s work is groundbreaking, and BU students have already benefitted greatly from participating in her research,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, Dean of Science at BU.

“With this support, she will continue to develop a world-class research program that will improve the health of the population locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Dr. Majumder was named as a Chairholder in December 2020, securing $600,000 in funding to support her position and program of research over a five-year term. The CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund and Research Manitoba’s CFI Matching Funding Program will support this role, enabling her to undertake groundbreaking research in a state-of-the-art facility.

“This outstanding research has attracted more than $1.8 million in support to our university and our community,” said Dr. Heather Duncan, BU’s Associate Vice-President (Research). “That is a tremendous good-news story for Brandon, but the impact of this investment extends well beyond that. It will help us to develop highly skilled personnel and top-notch facilities for our region and will bring significant health benefits to Manitobans. I’m very excited to see the outcomes of Dr. Majumder’s work.”