Congratulations to several Biochemistry faculty who were recently awarded Dahoud Breast Cancer Pilot Awards.
Alla Grishok, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Dafne Cardamone, PhD, Instructor, and Catherine Costello, PhD, Director of Center for Biomedical Mass Spectrometry, will study regulation of cancer-promoting Myc protein using a model metastatic breast cancer cell line. Myc binds DNA and activates a large network of genes that together transform normal cells into cancer cells. Myc activity is elevated in most human cancers and is especially relevant for Myc-driven triple (estrogen, progesterone and Her2) negative breast cancer. Dr. Grishok and colleagues will investigate new mechanisms that increase Myc protein activity: 1) adding specific sugar residues, and 2) protein truncation. New compounds that directly inhibit Myc or inhibit enzymes that activate Myc could be developed into new cancer therapies.
Xaralabos Varelas, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Stefano Monti, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics, will study the causes of aggressive triple negative breast cancers. The team will determine how abnormal signaling networks drive gene expression changes that lead to aggressive breast cancers and then categorize subsets of aggressive breast cancers, thereby better targeting the most effective treatments based on the genes expressed in the tumor.