Since the partnering of Dr. Anthony Lucci's Breast Cancer Research at The University of Texas MD AndersonCancer center and the Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation, we are now knocking at the door of successfully raising close to $200,000!!!
We are thrilled to report that our November 5, 2015 EJBCF Color Me Pink event raised over $40,000! That combined with past years fundraising by the foundation, we can now proudly announce that we have donated just shy of $200,000 to Dr. Lucci’s brilliant endeavor for breast cancer research.
Dr. Lucci would like to share this latest news about his research:
I would like to thank you for your generous support of my micrometastases research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. We could not have realized our exceptional advancements this year if not for your generosity and devotion to our research program. The last few months of 2015 were very eventful, and we are excited about upcoming 2016 projects!
As some of you know, in late 2015 we published paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute describing the role CTCs play in disease progression in stage III inflammatory breast cancer patients. This is important since it could be used to identify those patients at higher risk for relapse, thus enabling us to intervene before a relapse occurs. We already have a paper published in 2016! It is a study we spearheaded with our European colleagues, Pooled Analysis of the Prognostic Relevance of Circulating Tumor Cells in Primary Breast Cancer, which has been published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. This report, which included more than 3100 stage I-III breast cancer patients, is a multi-institutional study (Germany, France, Netherlands, and our group) showing that one or more circulating tumor cell per tube of blood predicts relapse and death. This is a groundbreaking report because it demonstrates that as few as one circulating tumor cell can be reliably identified amongst many different clinical laboratories. More importantly, it clearly demonstrates that circulating tumor cell assessment is a valuable tool for predicting relapse in breast cancer patients, even early stage patients with T1/T2 tumors.
We can now characterize CTCs from stage I-III patients so that targeted therapies can be developed to kill these harmful cells. We now have the ability to isolate single CTCs, amplify the DNA sequences within each CTC, and perform molecular analyses on individual cells to determine if CTCs harbor mutations that promote metastasis. Simultaneously, we are identifying additional factors that tumor cells shed into the bloodstream that can be used to develop new individualized treatments for patients. We have analyzed blood from 30 stage III triple negative breast cancer patients for tumor-derived DNA (DNA released by tumor cells into the blood. Another tool tumor cells use to promote cancer spread are exosomes. Exosomes are like “microscopic balloons” that cancer cells release into the bloodstream. These balloons are filled with proteins and RNA that can travel in the blood to distant sites, such as the bone, lung, and brain. The exosomes actually enter the cells at these distant sites and “prime them” so that the cancer cells can establish metastases later. We have analyzed blood from several breast cancer patients and compared exosome proteins in patients who have recurred and those who remain disease free. Together, these combined results can be used as “liquid biopsies” that will facilitate the development of individualized therapies to eradicate CTCs, and specific DNA mutations and proteins in the blood that can be used to predict disease progression while concurrently identifying new targets for drug development.
Most importantly, none of this work would be possible without the generosity of each of you in helping us have the resources available to reach our goal of eliminating cancer. Thanks again for being a part of our team!
This is an electron microscopy picture of an exosome cross section Isolated from a stage II breast cancer patient’s blood.