Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology

Dr Versha Banerji

Hematologic Malignancies

Dr Versha Banerji
5016-675 McDermot Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0V9
(204) 787-8027
Email: Dr Versha Banerji M.D. FRCPC

Metabolic deregulation in Hematologic Malignancies

My research program focuses on metabolic deregulation in hematologic malignancies in the hopes to develop biomarkers for diagnostic and prognostic use, understanding of drug resistance and finally the identification of novel targets and development of targeted therapies.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is an incurable disease with the exception of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Most patients requiring treatment do not meet the criteria for transplantation. To date, conventional modalities used in CLL therapy include nucleoside analogues, alkylating agents and are therefore rather nonspecific. Although monoclonal antibodies are currently being used, patients continue to relapse with treatment. Hence, the development of novel targeted therapeutic approaches remains a critical goal of CLL research. Banerji et al. investigated the role of a metabolic enzyme-glycogen synthase kinase -3 alpha in acute myeloid leukemia.1 This implicated metabolic signaling as potential targets in leukemia therapy. Currently we are investigating the role of targeting metabolic signaling on CLL cells and their microenvironment.

Dr Banerji is advertising for a Master's student in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics. Please contact Dr Banerji for more information.

Team Members

  • Cheryl Peltier (Technician)
  • Nabanita Chatterjee (Post-doctoral fellow), recipient of Research Manitoba / CancerCare Manitoba Foundation post-doctoral fellowship (2016-2018)

Previous Team Members

  • Ryan Saleh (Summer student)
  • Rebecca Lang (BSc Med)
  • Wayne Hicks (BSc Med)
  • Heather Wittick (Masters in Physician Assistant)
  • Eric Bouchard (MSc)
  • Iris Gehrke (Post doctoral fellow)
  • Kansara Roopesh (Hematology Fellow)
  • Kristin Kantautas (Lab assistant)

Publications Since 2010

PubMed Listed Publications
  1. Cross-resistance and synergy with bendamustine in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Kost SE, Bouchard ED, LaBossière É, Ye X, Queau ML, Liang WS, Banerji V, Gibson SB, Katyal S, Johnston JB. Leuk Res. 2016 Nov;50:63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2016.09.016.
  2. The CDK inhibitor AT7519M in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma. A Phase II study of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group. Seftel MD, Kuruvilla J, Kouroukis T, Banerji V, Fraser G, Crump M, Kumar R, Chalchal HI, Salim M, Laister RC, Crocker S, Gibson SB, Toguchi M, Lyons JF, Xu H, Powers J, Sederias J, Seymour L, Hay AE. Leuk Lymphoma. 2016 Oct 17:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Comparison of outcome of patients with CLL who are referred or nonreferred to a specialized CLL clinic: a Canadian population-based study. Beiggi S, Banerji V, Deneka A, Griffith J, Gibson SB, Johnston JB. Cancer Med. 2016 Jun;5(6):971-9. doi: 10.1002/cam4.559. Epub 2016 Feb 18.
  4. Targeting MTHFD2 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Yana Pikman, Alexandre Puisant, Gabriela Alexe, Andrew Furman, Liying Chen, Stacey Frumm, Linda Ross, Nina Fenouille, Christopher Bassil, Caroline Lewis, Joshua Gould, Richard Stone, Daniel DeAngelo, Ilene Galinsky, Clary Clish, Andrew Kung, Michael Hemann, Matthew Vander Heiden, Versha Banerji, and Kimberly Stegmaier J Exp Med. 2016 Jun 27;213(7):1285-306. doi: 10.1084/jem.20151574. Epub 2016 Jun 20.
  5. Gefitinib targets ZAP-70-expressing chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and inhibits B-cell receptor signaling. Dielschneider RF, Xiao W, Yoon JY, Noh E, Banerji V, Li H, Marshall AJ, Johnston JB, Gibson SB.Cell Death Dis. 2014 Oct 2;5:e1439. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.391.
  6. On-target effect of FK866, a nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase inhibitor, by apoptosis-mediated death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Gehrke I, Bouchard ED, Beiggi S, Poeppl AG, Johnston JB, Gibson SB, Banerji V.Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 15;20(18):4861-72. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0624. Epub 2014 Aug 29.
  7. SYK regulates mTOR signaling in AML. Carnevale J, Ross L, Puissant A, Banerji V, Stone RM, DeAngelo DJ, Ross KN, Stegmaier K.Leukemia. 2013 Nov;27(11):2118-28. doi: 10.1038/leu.2013.89. Epub 2013 Mar 28.
  8. Increased risk of second malignancies in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients as compared with follicular lymphoma patients: a Canadian population-based study. Beiggi S, Johnston JB, Seftel MD, Pitz MW, Kumar R, Banerji V,, J Griffith E, Gibson SB. Br J Cancer. 2013 Jul 16. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.381. [Epub ahead of print]
  9. Targeting metabolism and autophagy in the context of haematologic malignancies. Banerji V, Gibson SB.Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:595976. Epub 2012 Jul 8.
  10. The intersection of genetic and chemical genomic screens identifies GSK-3a as a target in human acute myeloid leukemia. Banerji V, Frumm SM, Ross KN, Li LS, Schinzel AC, Hahn CK, Kakoza RM, Chow KT, Ross L, Alexe G, Tolliday N, Inguilizian H, Galinsky I, Stone RM, DeAngelo DJ, Roti G, Aster JC, Hahn WC, Kung AL, Stegmaier K.J Clin Invest. 2012 Mar 1;122(3):935-47. doi: 10.1172/JCI46465. Epub 2012 Feb 13.

Book Chapters

Banerji S, Ande SR, Maddika S, Banerji V, Rashedi I, Owens NW, Zuse A, Schweizer F and M Los. Peptides and peptidomimetics as cancer therapy sensitizing agents. in: "Sensitization of Cancer Cells to Chemo/Immuno/Radio Therapy." edited by: B. Bonavida; Humana Press, Inc.

Research Funding

2016 - 2019 Funding Agency: Research Manitoba

Title: New Investigator Operating grant
Role: Principal applicant
Total Value of Grant: $225,000

2015-2020 Funding Agency: Research Manitoba – Cluster Grant

Title: An Innovative Cancer Research Model: Integrated Multidisciplinary CLL Research Cluster
Leader: Dr Spencer Gibson
Role: Co-applicant and Project Lead for project 3B “Inhibiting nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase in CLL”
Total Value of grant: $2,500,000
Total Value of Project: $259,375

2015-2017 Funding Agency: CancerCare Manitoba Foundation – Operating Grant

Title: Validating Novel GSK-3 Inhibitors in CLL
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $120,000

2014-2015 Funding Agency: Lady Tata Memorial Trust International Leukemia Research Award

Title: Modulation Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: £35,000

2014-2015 Funding Agency: Manitoba Medical Services Foundation / St Boniface Hospital Research Foundation -

Title: Hoeschen Award
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $4,000

2014-2015 Funding Agency: The University of Manitoba - University Research Grant program

Title: CLL survival is dependent on NAMPT
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $7,500

2014-2016 Shastri Indo Canadian Institute (600 000IR) – Operating Grant

Title: A Comparison of the Clinical And Molecular Features of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) in Indian and Canadian Populations
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: 600,000 IR

Completed Research Support

2013-2015 Funding Agency: CancerCare Manitoba Foundation Operating Grant

Title: HALO Pilot study
Principle Investigator: Ryan Zarychanski
Role: Co-Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $120,000
Total Value of Allocated Funds: $40,000

2013-2015 Funding Agency: CCMF Operating Grant

Title: Understanding the effect of NAD inhibition in CLL
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $94,840

2013-2014 Funding Agency: Manitoba Medical Services Foundation

Title: Targeting NAD signaling in CLL
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $20,000

2012-2014 Funding Agency: The University of Manitoba – Paul Thorlakson Foundation Operating Grant

Title: Modulating GSK-3 in CLL
Role: Principle Investigator
Total Value of Grant: $30,000

2012-2013 CancerCare Manitoba Foundation Infrastructure Grant

Title: Genetic epidemiology of CLL
Principle Investigator: Rajat Kumar
Role: Co-investigator
Total Value of Grant: $15,000

2006-2008 CancerCare Manitoba Foundation Operating Grant

Principle Investigator: James Johnston
Title: Epidemiology of CLL in Manitoba.
Role: Co-investigator
Total Value of Grant: $119,00

RIOH gratefully acknowledges the generous support of

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