Most breast cancer deaths occur because the cancer has spread, or metastasized, from the primary tumor to other places in the body. Current treatments for metastatic cancer are not curative. Previously, Einstein-Montefiore researchers identified a particular type of cancer cell that escapes the primary tumor, invades the blood stream, and travels throughout the body to seed new, metastatic tumors. Those cells express high levels of the protein MenaINV (an invasive variant of the actin-regulatory protein Mena) and the majority are stem cells that are particularly resistant to chemotherapy.
Maja H. Oktay, M.D., Ph.D., has received a $2.5 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the molecular signaling within the tumor microenvironment that provokes MenaINV cancer stem cells to establish metastatic tumors. Dr. Oktay will also investigate the effect of chemotherapy on both primary breast tumor and metastatic disease. The findings may lead to new approaches for treating metastatic breast cancer.
Dr. Oktay is professor of pathology and of anatomy and structural biology. Other PIs on the grant are John Condeelis, Ph.D., co-chair of anatomy and structural biology, co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center, and director of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program in the Albert Einstein Cancer Center; and David Entenberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and structural biology at Einstein and director of technology development within Einstein’s Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center. (1R01CA255153-01)
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2021