Local expertise headed to the final frontier

December 17, 2012 – Winnipeg, MB
It’s a match made in heaven as CancerCare Manitoba assists grade five students from Brant‐Argyle School to send a scientific experiment to outer space to show how antioxidants in green tea might be used to prevent cancer.

Brant‐Argyle in the Interlake School Division is the only Canadian school that was selected to take part in NASA’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. CancerCare Manitoba was initially called upon to provide expertise and cancer cells but the time between preparing samples, sending them to space, and bringing them back for analysis meant the cells would not survive. After consultation with the University of Manitoba Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, yeast cells were substituted.

The students hope to find out if yeast experiences higher rates of DNA mutations after being exposed to cosmic radiation and whether these mutations can be prevented with naturally occurring antioxidants in green tea.

“Yeast is frequently used in genetics and is very tolerant of the low oxygen and low nutrient conditions that will be encountered for the month that they will be in orbit,” said Liz Henson, lab manager, Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology at CancerCare Manitoba. “This is scientific research with real world applications for cancer prevention and we are thrilled that we could play a part in helping to design this out of the world experiment.”

The launch is scheduled for April 5, 2013; the cargo ship will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) where the Manitoba experiment along with 15 others from the United States will remain in orbit before returning to earth for analysis.

For more information:
David Hultin
CancerCare Manitoba - Communications and Public Affairs
204-787-4540 or

About the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology

Our mission is through an interdisciplinary program of research and training in the basic and clinical sciences gain a better understanding of the nature of cancer and blood disorders. Funding for MICB is provided in part by the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, the only organization fundraising exclusively for CancerCare Manitoba. Learn more at or follow @MICBmanitoba on Twitter.