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Grove Professor receives $1.5MM to study breast cancer therapies
Date:11/26/2012

For some time, researchers have known about disparities in diagnoses and outcomes among breast cancer patients based on race and age. However, they have been challenged to develop a set of criteria that can be used to reliably target drug delivery mechanisms based on an individual patient's tumor.

Dr. Debra Auguste, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York, will investigate personalized therapies to inhibit breast cancer metastasis supported by the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award. The grant, which provides $1.5 million over five years, funds "exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact."

"By applying our knowledge and experience in chemical engineering, materials science and nanotechnology, we hope to develop therapeutics that will increase breast cancer patient survival by inhibiting tumor progression and metastasis," said Professor Auguste, who joined the Grove School faculty in September from the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Science.

"Our goal is to use biological information to design new drug delivery vehicles that can target tumors. We have been studying what the cell surface looks like, how proteins relate to one another, how they are organized and what their ratios are."

The strategy marks a departure from other investigations that have focused on the role of messenger RNA, which is transcribed into proteins. "People often think if you have a large amount of messenger RNA you have a large amount of protein, but we don't necessarily know how much protein is being produced," she said.

Current breast cancer treatments are regulated by cell surface presentation. For example, breast cancer cells that express estrogen receptor and human epidermal growth receptor-2 on their surface are treated with hormone (a
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Contact: Ellis Simon
esimon@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-6460
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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