'Evil' proteins a force for good in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer
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IMAGE: University of Arizona Cancer Center researchers clarify questions surrounding estrogen’s role in breast cancer, which could lead to more precise treatments for ER-positive breast cancers. view more 

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Credit: Kris Hanning, UAHS BioCommunications

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, striking 1 out of 8 women. About 80 percent of all breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, in which cancer growth is fueled by estrogen.

A discovery that could have implications for developing more precise treatments for ER-positive breast cancer has been made by Marco Padilla-Rodriguez, PhD, a recent graduate of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine. Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez untangled some of the mysteries of a protein called EVL — pronounced “evil” — which is thought to reduce the ability of ER-positive breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body.

As a graduate student, Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez collaborated with UA Cancer Center member Ghassan Mouneimne, PhD, assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine, and a team of UA and international researchers who used epidemiological data to compare breast cancer patients taking hormone replacement therapy at the time of diagnosis with those who were not. They analyzed genetic data to identify EVL as

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