Yale Cancer Center: Michael DiGiovanna, MD/PhD
Co-Targeting IGF-Receptor and HER2 in Breast Cancer
About this Project: This project studies interactions between three receptors in the body. One of these receptors may play a role in resistance to drugs that specifically target one of the other receptors, such as Herceptin and tamoxifen. In addition, one of these receptors is one member of a family of four similar receptors that work cooperatively to make cells grow. It has been discovered that a cancer’s use of the other receptors in the family may play a role in resistance to drugs that only target one of these receptors. Therefore, it may be more affective to inhibit all of the receptors rather than just the one. CT BHI has been funding this project for the past two grant funding years and continues to support its progress.
Yale University Department of Molecular Biophysics, Biochemistry and Pharmacology:
Anthony Koleske, MD and Titus Boggon, MD
Targeting a Breast Cancer Invasion Control Switch
About the Project: Metastasis, or the spread of disease from one organ or part of the body to another, is the primary cause of breast cancer deaths. Metastatic breast cancer cells must penetrate through a certain kind of membrane in the body. Invasive breast cancer cells form protrustions that break down the membrane barriers and allow the cells to penetrate them. Drs. Koleske and Boggon have identified proteins that turn on the formation of these protrusions. By knocking these proteins out of breast cancer cells, it would disrupt the cells ability to invade the membrane and metastasize. They are hoping to turn their findings into a drug that would treat breast cancer invasion and metastasis.
University of Connecticut Health Center: Helen Swede, PhD
Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Survival Disparity
About the Project: A continuing public health concern in both Connecticut and the rest of the country is that while African American women have a lower rate of breast cancer compared to white women, they are far more likely to die from the disease. This has started more research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer since it has been found in about 30% of tumors in African American Women and less than 10% of tumors in white women. There is evidence which suggests that Triple Negative Breast Cancer has the worst prognosis but it is unclear whether this is because it is more aggressive or because there are no targeted therapies. Dr. Swede will conduct a survival analysis study on patients diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer which takes into account socioeconomic status, chemotherapy received and other concurrent medical conditions. This will be the largest study of Triple Negative Breast Cancer in the United States to date.
University of Connecticut Health Center: Kevin Claffey, MD
Regional Breast Tumor and Sentinel Node Procurement for Advanced Molecular Diagnostic and Therapeutic Research
About the Project: The disproportionate number of African American women with Triple Negative Breast Cancer suggests a need to include more minority patients in molecular research studies, specifically in studies on how to treat this cancer. This project will collect samples and other information from patients with Triple Negative Breast Cancer with the ultimate goal of finding a treatment.
University of Connecticut Health Center: Susan Tannenbaum, MD and Mansai Shah, MD
The Impact of HER2 Status on the Outcome of Patients with Small Breast Cancers
About the Project: Dr. Tannenbaum and Dr. Shah are hoping to make an impact on patient survival rates by determining how the biology of each specific type of breast cancer affects the outcome on a patient. They will use a database which is already in use at UCONN Health Center to record data on all patients diagnosed with small breast cancers and study their outcomes based on HER2 status. HER2 is a growth factor in breast cancer tumors.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut: Donna Boehm, Nurse Navigator
Nutrition and Fitness Program for Breast Cancer Survivors
About the Project: Donna Boehm and The Hospital of Central Connecticut will host an interactive Nutrition and Fitness Educational Series for breast cancer survivors. This will include a supervised nutrition and exercise program, yoga program and workshops featuring education on nutrition and physical activity benefits for breast cancer survivors. They will also provide survivorship education materials to patients completing treatments and provide community outreach at health fairs.