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Wayne State receives DOD grant; study may give insight to slow or halt breast cancer
Date:12/23/2011

DETROIT A Wayne State University School of Medicine post-doctoral researcher has secured a significant grant to study the signaling process that triggers a type of breast cancer to transform into an invasive state.

Kingsley Osuala, Ph.D., a post-doctoral trainee in the Department of Pharmacology, has secured a three-year, $450,000 grant from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program for his study, "Paracrine Cytokine/Chemokine Pathways in Progression of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ to Invasive Ductal Carcinoma."

"This is especially exciting as only 22 grants nationally were issued in this category for this fiscal year," said Osuala, who received his doctorate in biomedical science from the University of Central Florida. "This is a major milestone for me because it will be the first grant on which I am listed as principal investigator."

Osuala is investigating the process by which breast cancer moves from a pre-invasive state to an invasive state. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a pre-invasive breast cancer, was the fourth-leading cause of cancer diagnosed in women worldwide in 2010. Communication between the DCIS cells and other surrounding cells is known to accelerate movement to an invasive cancer, but the molecules responsible for the process have not been identified, he said.

The objective of the study, Osuala said, is to evaluate the potential roles of two small proteins that communicate between cells the chemokine CCL20 and the cytokine IL-6 in the progression of DCIS to an invasive state. Recent data has uncovered a previously unknown mechanism by which cancer cells increase expression of CCL20 and IL-6 to manipulate their environment, rendering them invasive. Thus, CCL20 and IL-6 may be potential targets for new drugs as well as markers that might allow doctors to accurately predict which patients with DCIS are likely to have it progress to invasive tumors, he said.

"By identifying chemokine/cy
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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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