Hello! I’m Camilla Urbaniak, a PhD student in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Western University. I’m studying the bacteria that grow in breast tissue so I can determine which bacteria may protect against breast cancer development, and which may promote cancer development. We’re also studying whether these breast bacteria can affect a woman’s response to chemotherapy.
In February 2015, I was invited to give a talk at the 8th International Symposium on the Breast, hosted by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. The enthusiasm and passion emanating from all the speakers and attendees (including clinicians, basic scientists and breast cancer survivors) was infectious, and I was touched by the collaborative spirit and desire to work together to put an end to this devastating disease.
One unique part of the conference was the formation of consortia, in which we developed projects (over the span of three days) that were then presented to a panel of judges for grants. One consortium winner proposed the use of bacterial proteins, administered intraductally into women with breast cancer, in order to boost the anti-tumour immune response so as to prevent invasive breast cancer from developing.
This meeting has been the highlight of my year and I’m already hoping to be able to attend again in two years’ time.
Thank you to BCSC for your trainee support!
– Camilla Urbaniak
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre