It's particularly aggressive and difficult to treat, but a University of Vermont researcher has just been awarded nearly half a million dollars to study new therapies for triple negative breast cancer.
Doctors say about 15 to 20 percent of all cancer cases are triple negative, meaning they don't have three different receptors that respond to cancer drugs, so targeted therapies are not available to those patients. Therefore, women who have triple negative cancer receive more blanket chemotherapy that kills not only the cancer cells, but healthy ones as well. They suffer more side effects and less positive outcomes.
UVM scientist Jason Stumpff wants to change that. He's studying new targeted therapies for the thousands of women diagnosed as triple negative each year.
"Through our sort of basic research in looking at how cells proliferate we serendipitously observed that some of the molecules we were working on were required for tumor cells to grow, but no normal cells. And so the hope is that by targeting those specific molecules we'll be able to limit the growth of the triple negative breast cancer tumor cells without harming normal cells and causing side effects for patients," said Stumpff.
Stumpff just received nearly $500,000 from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to continue his research. The group announced $33 million in new research awards this week for investigators across the country.
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