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Karmanos Cancer Institute researchers obtain RO1 grant to study triple-negative breast cancer

Breast cancer researchers at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute have obtained a five-year, $1,577,000 RO1 grant through the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to study therapeutic treatments for triple-negative breast cancer. The RO1 grant number is CA174949-01A1. 

Research titled, “Developing targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer,” is led by Gen Sheng Wu, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM). Fellow investigators include Lisa Polin, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM; Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, professor and leader of the Breast Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos and WSU SOM; and Wei Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Oncology, Molecular Biology and Genetics at Karmanos and WSU SOM.

Research will evaluate the therapeutic potential of a specific targeted therapy (known as TRAIL – tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) when used alone; in combination with a new, FDA-approved drug, LB100; and in combination with clinically-used chemotherapeutic agents to treat mesenchymal-like triple-negative breast cancer. The research also will test LB100 alone and will combine it with clinically-used chemotherapeutic agents to treat basal-like triple negative breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer is considered the most difficult to treat. The majority of triple-negative breast cancers can be categorized as mesenchymal-like, referring to a type of cell responsible for the creation of connective tissues, blood, lymphatics, bone and cartilage. Triple-negative breast cancer makes up approximately 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases and most commonly affects younger women and black women. This research “has relevance to public health and is highly translational with potential clinical impact,” according to Dr. Wu.

We congratulate Dr. Wu and his co-investigators on their RO1 grant!    

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