Researchers are hoping to contribute to improving changes of prevention and survival by developing a more precise understanding of how and why breast cancer cells grow and develop and how to help the body combat them when they do.
One in eight women are afflicted with breast cancer in the United States.
One researcher focused on how cancer cells acquire an essential nutrient, glutamine, that enables them to proliferate and co-opt other cells to aid in that process.
The research could ultimately lead to new treatments that would limit the availability to cancer cell of asparagine, and amino acid that seems to be crucial to development of glutamine.
Another researcher focused on whether there is a link between young women who develop breast cancer and premature aging.
This research involved studying samples of normal tissue and blood samples from young women with and without breast cancer.
The study found that there is something going on in the tissue of young women with breast cancer that looks like what is found in older women. These findings could lead to new ways to identifying young women at risk of developing breast cancer and providing them with prevention strategies.
Another researcher is studying whether drugs that boost the immune system can be used in combination with chemotherapy, cryoblation and radiation to treat cancer. The study focuses specifically on Tremelimumab, which is developed at Pfizer in Groton.
The drugs can help turn on the body’s immune cell response once it is activated by the other therapies.
Preliminary results of this study are promising and further research is being planned.
These three researchers are some of the recipients of the more than $3 million in grants provided through the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundations’ fundraising efforts since 2006. Their work was presented on Thursday to an audience gathered at the Lawrence + Memorial Cancer Center.