Dr. Mousumi Majumder of Brandon University recently received a $75,000 grant from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, which will further her team’s research into developing a method of detecting the disease in its early stages.
Talking to the Sun on Tuesday, Majumder said the new research grant was handed out through the society’s first-ever national grant competition, with the BU professor and her team being the only recipients from Manitoba.
“I did not expect that we would get it. It was very competitive from the beginning,” Majumder said, explaining that the winners of the new contest were announced in late May.
“More than the money, I’d say that the recognition and the way the competition happened, that really gave us the boost we needed.”
In terms of where the $75,000 is going, Majumder said the grant will be used to secure more student scholarships and tissue samples from cancer patients, which are both vital to ensure that the project continues.
As it stands, Majumder and her team are using the tissue samples to identify blood biomarkers that could lead to an expeditious diagnosis of breast cancer in patients.
This method could be especially useful for younger Canadian women, since they typically do not qualify for a breast cancer screening until the age of 50.
“Are we at the point where you can forget about a biopsy? No,” Majumder said. “But … we are very hopeful that within a couple years … that these markers will be sensitive enough so that a blood test can give you an early sign of breast cancer.”
Majumder has been exploring this field of study for well over a decade.
After receiving her PhD in oral cancer genetics and epidemiology from the Indian Statistical Institute and Jadavpur University in 2009, Majumder became seriously involved in cell biology work during her post-doctoral training at Western University.
Since joining BU in 2016, Majumder’s focus has narrowed to finding a simple method of detecting breast cancer and has received multiple rounds of funding to make this happen.
In late 2020, the BU professor was named a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Genotoxicology, a position that entitled her to a $600,000 grant that can be used over the course of five years.
But at that point, Majumder admitted that her research was still in its preliminary stages, with any progress being hampered by all the recent restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that these restrictions have been rolled back nationwide, Majumder is happy to report that it is now much easier to acquire tissue samples, especially since her team is working alongside health-care professionals from the London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario.
“Initially we were struggling to get even a hundred samples,” she said. “But right now, things are loosening up and more participants are coming into the hospital.”
Moving forward, Majumder said her team’s research will also be bolstered by an over 1,200-square-foot lab that is being set up in BU’s John R. Brodie Science Centre.
This new space will give them more direct access to imaging systems, biomarker detection technology and other equipment that isn’t available anywhere else in Westman.
“We are doing really great considering that Brandon University is a small institution,” Majumder said.
“We don’t have as much as the University of Manitoba or CancerCare Manitoba, but it seems like we are doing fine with our limited structure.”
But more than anything, Majumder believes that this new $75,000 grant is a testament to the hard work being put in by her team, which includes BU students, staff and even outside groups like CancerCare Manitoba, whose members regularly provide their medical expertise.
“It’s a team effort. It’s me who is talking right now, but trust me, it’s the team doing the work in the background,” she said. “That keeps me motivated.”
One in eight Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the federal government. The disease also accounts for 13 per cent of all cancer-related deaths in Canadian women.
» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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