Dr. Versha Banerji

Dr. Versha Banerji is a Clinician Scientist at CancerCare Manitoba and Senior Scientist at the Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology. She is also a co-investigator on the Research Manitoba CLL Research Cluster.

Cancer cell metabolism is considered a hallmark of cancer development. Current treatment strategies are based on targeting DNA replication or signaling pathways to control cancer cell growth proliferation and survival. My laboratory firmly believes that targeting cancer cell metabolism is a novel approach in the fight against cancer.  My research program is focused on evaluating the metabolism power house, the mitochondria, by creating bioenergetics profiles of cancer cells. We then use the readouts to determine how new drugs can alter the profiles and identify doses that may be safer in patients and better tolerated by patients for treatment of their cancers. Although my work has mainly focused on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, this work has broad applicability to any cancer type. This platform serves to supplement traditional drug screening for novel agents. We also use a variety of molecular biology techniques in the laboratory and genetic loss of targets as validation for drug screens.  We also investigate how cancer metabolism is linked with circadian rhythm. As a physician, I value the use of novel agents in clinical practice and how they affect my patients. Thus, my research program also evaluates the implementation of novel agents in clinical practice, the impact on treatment course of patients including side effects as well as the costs of new drug for health care delivery.

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