Navigation Links
Scientists to study hereditary breast cancer to find BRCA1 treatment
Date:7/29/2014

Deborah Kelly and Zhi Sheng, assistant professors at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, recently received a grant from the Commonwealth Health Research Board to investigate hereditary breast cancer, an effort that may lead to new treatment approaches.

The board funds research intended to benefit Virginia residents.

The grant will fund a two-year project to study the mechanisms behind hereditary breast cancer related to the BRCA1 gene. This type of cancer often has a poor outcome, especially in Virginians compared with the national average.

"BRCA1-related tumors are usually triple negative, meaning they lack estrogen, progesterone, and Her2 receptors, which are effective drug targets for treating other forms of breast cancer," Kelly said. "Targeted treatments do not exist for BRCA1-related tumors, which tend to be more aggressive and difficult to manage by conventional therapies. They are also more likely to recur."

Kelly recently received a young investigator award from the Concern Foundation, which will provide funding to investigate the molecular mechanisms of oxidative damage that can increase the risk of breast cancer, especially when combined with a BRCA1 gene mutation.

In its healthy state, BRCA1 acts as a tumor suppressor. The BRCA1 protein, a product of the gene, helps coordinate the repair of damaged DNA in cells before they divide.

"Tumor-suppressing genes exist in all cells, but if one is mutated, the vital DNA protection is lost," Sheng said.

If the BRCA1 gene is mutated, it doesn't properly protect the DNA and can eventually lead to transformation of cells to the cancerous state.

About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute, but 55 percent to 65 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.

"Problems arise when the BRCA1 protein is mutated and cannot properly function with other protein complexes," Sheng said. "But until now, we haven't had the technology to directly view the structures, so we weren't able to see exactly what was going wrong."

With improved imaging techniques that Kelly's research team developed, Kelly and Sheng can now directly see nuclear protein complexes interacting with BRCA1.

"These new structural biology tools can help reveal protein interactions in a novel way," said Sheng, who has studied cancer biology without ever directly observing his research subjects at this level of detail. "Honestly, it's just cool."

Kelly and Sheng will map out the structure of BRCA1-related interactions in healthy and mutated versions of the protein and determine exactly how each operates at the molecular level.

"It's exciting," Sheng said. "This strategy of designing therapies based on the structure of the molecular process to be targeted is fairly new. Instead of simply screening for possible treatments, we're trying to create a solution to a challenge that is scientifically constrained and well defined."

This approach could be used for other cancers as well. Once Kelly and Sheng gain better insight into the molecular basis of BRCA1 mutations, researchers may have the information to develop new specific treatments for hereditary forms of BRCA1-related cancers.

"By identifying new molecular targets for BRCA1-related cancers," Kelly said, "we strive to improve the lives of women living with these mutations and to improve their treatment options long term."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paula Brewer Byron
paulabyron@vt.edu
540-526-2027
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists solving the mystery of human consciousness
2. Scientists uncover multiple faces of deadly breast cancer
3. Scientists identify major source of cells defense against oxidative stress
4. Scientists tailor cell surface targeting system to hit organelle ZIP codes
5. Scientists rewrite rulebook on breast cancer in landmark global study
6. Warwick scientists uncover how checkpoint proteins bind chromosomes
7. NIH scientists link quickly spreading gene to Asian MRSA epidemic
8. Joslin scientists identify important mechanism that affects the aging process
9. Scripps Research scientists show how memory B cells stay in class to fight different infections
10. Scientists Map Melanomas Genome
11. A*STAR scientists discover switch to boost anti-viral response to fight infectious diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists to study hereditary breast cancer to find BRCA1 treatment
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse ... Market. Featuring a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, ... quality-focused health and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob ... sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational ... and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology and ... for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ), ... of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides ... while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Hair Restoration, has recently contributed a medical article to the newly revamped ... Dr. Mohebi’s article spotlights the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... their devotion to personalized service, SMP Pharmacy Solutions announces their ... South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies, and listed for ... specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  To that end, the ... by SFBJ as the 2017 Power Leader in Health Care. ... award in October, Bardisa said of the three achievements, "It,s ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves ... (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical ... device industry is in an odd place.  The industry ... excise tax on medical device sales passed along with ... patients, increased visits and hospital customers with the funding ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... Sept. 18, 2017 EpiVax, Inc. ... bioinformatics and immune engineering, today announced a ... A (H7N9) vaccine. ... seasonal influenza and presents a challenge for ... exposure to be effective. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: