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Posted on: October 31st, 2016
Seeds4Hope 2016 Recipients

Seeds4Hope 2016 Recipients (Left to Right – Dr. Michael Dufresne, Seeds4Hope Administrator, Dr. Josee Jarry, Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal & Dr. John Hudson.)

WINDSOR, ON / October 26, 2016: In just eight years, the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation has awarded over $1.9 million to local cancer researchers through their Seeds4Hope grant awards program. This significant investment was celebrated today as three new grant recipients were awarded two-year grants totalling $227,916.

Dr. John Hudson, Dr. Josée Jarry and Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal received their grant certificates and shared brief details of their research projects: one (Dr. Hudson) to characterize the role of Plk4, one of the polo-like kinases that is associated with genome instability, in the development of hematological malignances (i.e., types of cancers that begin in blood-forming tissue) and by extending their studies to patient samples and human cell lines survey whether Plk4 status together with associated markers will serve as potential biomarkers for prognosis, development and class of disease, and/or response to treatment; a second (Dr. Jarry) to examine the use of Ashtanga yoga as an effective intervention to mitigate some of the detrimental psychological and physiological effects of breast cancer and its treatment as a low burden intervention that may significantly improve quality of life for thousands of breast cancer survivors in a very short time frame; and a third (Dr. Kanjeekal) to study the genetic markers associated with the progression of bladder cancer, the 5th most common cancer in Canada with local incidences higher than the provincial average, from a non-invasive disease to invasive and metastatic diseases. This study involves a multi-disciplinary research team of clinicians and bench scientists and serves as a preclinical step towards clinical testing of important genetic markers than can be used clinically to better diagnose and treat in a more personalized way people with bladder cancer.

Seeds4Hope was established in 2009 to provide seed funding for new research or new approaches to existing cancer research being conducted by local scientists. The program utilizes a rigorous expert peer-review process adopted by all nationally and internationally recognized granting agencies.

To-day’s awards announcement is immediately followed by the third Seeds4Hope Community Seminar Series which celebrates the success of the Seeds4Hope program and provides a forum for grant recipients to share with the community, and specifically the loyal donors, the outcomes of their research. The public is invited to attend the complimentary event to celebrate the progress of past and current Seeds4Hope research projects, to learn how Seeds4Hope projects have initiated and fostered networks among basic scientists, social scientists and health care professionals, and to hear about the impact of these grants on improved cancer care in our community.
“The hope in research reflects its potential. Each of the 27 excellent, innovative, peer-reviewed research projects supported by Seeds4Hope over eight competitions is a work in progress; its potential will only be fully realized in its future application to benefit our children and grandchildren. But the potential for future success in the long-term can be measured in the short-term by monitoring several indicators of progress such as publications, collaborations, and clinical trials. From these indicators, it is clear that Seeds4Hope funded research is playing a significant role in advancing cancer care in our community and beyond. The awards presentation and the Seeds4Hope Community Seminar Series are opportunities to demonstrate the strength of the local cancer research culture, to express heartfelt thanks to Windsor-Essex, and to celebrate together what has grown from the research “seeds” planted since 2009 through the generosity of our donors and the dedication of our world-class local researchers”, stated Dr. Michael Dufresne, Seeds4Hope Administrator.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, worldwide life expectancy was less than 40 years of age. Today the world average stands at around 70. The single biggest reason for this miraculous leap in longevity has been our ability to cure diseases. Vaccines for Tetanus, Polio & Measles all came from years of research. We are very fortunate to have great minds doing local research that could lead to the next “BIG” thing in the treatment of cancer.  Our Foundation is delighted to be able to support Seeds4Hope and this year’s grant recipients in the next step in their research. We would also like to thank our generous donors for their continued generosity in our ongoing efforts to help the cancer community”, stated Rick Durocher, President of the Foundation.

“Clearly, the young Seeds4Hope program is meeting its objectives: it is facilitating new and innovative cancer research, leveraging new sources of research funding, promoting collaborations, and improving cancer care in our community.” ….”The support that has been provided by the Seeds4Hope program has proven to be highly successful in so many different ways, but most importantly the results of the research that has been funded is making a difference in our community and supporting local cancer research and care. We truly value the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s commitment and support to the Seeds4Hope program” stated the University of Windsor’s Heather Pratt, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, and Dr. Marlys Koschinsky, Dean (past), Faculty of Science


About the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation
The Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation was established in 1996 by a group of volunteers intent on making the cancer journey one that was less stressful to patients and their families, as well as aiding in the provision of care through the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment. Our mandate has grown over the years to include a commitment to supporting local cancer research, as well as providing short-term assistance to patients experiencing financial need, among other programs. Thanks to tremendous community support, the Cancer Centre Foundation has raised over 25 million dollars to support these programs at the Cancer Centre at Windsor Regional Hospital and throughout the regional cancer program.

Dr. Michael Dufresne
Seeds4Hope Administrator

Rick Durocher  

Houida Kassem
Manager & Director of Development
P 519-253-3191 x58506

Research Grant Recipients:
Dr. John Hudson
519.253.3000 X2715

Dr. Josée Jarry
519.253.3000 X2237

Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal
Through 519.253.5253 


Principal Investigator: Dr. John Hudson
University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Department of Biological Sciences
Co-Investigators: Dr. Caroline Hamm, Windsor Regional Hospital, Cancer Program
Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal, Windsor Regional Hospital, Cancer Program
Collaborators: Dr. David Shum, Windsor Regional Hospital, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Dr. Jan Ciborowski, University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Biological Sciences
Principal Investigator: Dr. Josée Jarry
University of Windsor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology
Co-Investigators: Dr. Caroline Hamm, Windsor Regional Hospital, Cancer Program
Dr. Cheri McGowan, Kinesiology, University of Windsor
Collaborators: Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Windsor Regional Hospital, Cancer Program
Dr. Kendall Soucie, Psychology, University of Windsor
Gina Wasserlein, B.Ed., YA-E-RYT-500 (Windsor Yoga Studio)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal
Windsor Regional Hospital, Cancer Program; University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Department of Biological Sciences
Co-Investigators: Dr. Lisa Porter, University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Biological Sciences
Dr. Dora Cavallo-Medved, University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Biological Sciences
Dr. Luis Rueda, University of Windsor, Faculty of Science, Computer Science
Dr. Atikukke Govindaraja, Windsor Regional Campus, Hotel Dieu Campus
Dr. Yasser EL-Gohary, Windsor Regional Hospital, Pathology
Collaborators: Dr. Ron Sorenson, Windsor Regional Hospital
Dr. Thomas Elsdon, Windsor Regional Hospital
Krista Naccarato, B.Sc., B.Ed., Windsor Regional Hospital, Clinical Trials

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