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1 big problem with many possible solutions
Date:4/21/2010

Washington, DC -- For women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, treatment after initial surgery is straightforward: a daily dose of an anti-hormone drug will block the tumor from fuel needed for growth, and keep the breast cancer at bay. The treatments work like gangbusters at first, but after time, many tumors become resistant to therapy. With no other treatment options, the cancer grows again and eventually spreads.

Teams of scientists from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center are studying multiple ways to address this problem. Findings from their most recent research are being presented this week at the AACR 101st Annual Meeting 2010 in Washington, DC. (Embargoes listed with each abstract summary that follows).

"In our lab, we're working on two approaches for overcoming breast cancers that are treatment resistant," says Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, a professor of oncology and physiology & biophysics at Lombardi, and interim director of GUMC's Biomedical Graduate Research Organization. "We're after what works, even if means taking the longer road. So, while it can be easier to find new combinations of existing drugs as a short term approach, if we need to identify new targets and new drugs to get the best outcome for patients in the long term, then that's what we should be doing." Clarke was recently awarded a $7.5 million NCI grant to lead one of 11 Centers for Cancer Systems Biology addressing cancer resistance.

A third and provocative approach is being studied in the lab of V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc, scientific director and vice chairman of the department of oncology at Lombardi. "We believe we can trigger the treatment-resistant breast cancer cells to become vulnerable to existing treatments once again," he says. This is the underlying theory of a clinical study for women with treatment resistant, hormone receptor-positive tumors. "We are giving these women a 'splash' of estrogen to trick the cel
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
215-514-9751
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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