Dr. Jason Herschkowitz, assistant professor of biomedical sciences at University at Albany School of Public Health and Cancer Research Center, was recently awarded a $125,000 research grant from the Breast Cancer Alliance, an organization that provides funding for innovative breast cancer research and breast health education and outreach. The grant will support research designed to better understand the difference between early stage breast tumors that progress into life threatening cancer and tumors that do not impact patients’ quality of life or survival if left untreated.
Using tumor samples from women diagnosed with both ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive breast cancer in the same breast, Dr. Herschkowitz will collaborate with Dr. Behbod at the University of Kansas Medical Center to study a group of long noncoding RNAs (IncRNAs) genes that are enhanced in invasive tumor samples. The research aims to evaluate the role and importance of IncRNAs in invasive and metastatic breast cancer to allow better prediction of patients who will not develop invasive cancer and, thus, can be spared aggressive treatment such as bilateral mastectomy. The research will also assist identify potential new drug targets or therapeutic entry points to treat patients with progressed disease.