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Innovative Approaches to Fighting Breast Cancer

Department of Defense Awards Grants to Five Investigators at The Scripps Research Institute

La Jolla, CA, November 1, 2004—Five scientific investigators at The Scripps Research Institute were recently awarded research grants from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program, which according to the DoD web site, aims to promote research to eradicate breast cancer.

The following awards were made to investigators at Scripps Research as part of this effort:

  • Ralph A. Reisfeld, Ph.D., was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award of $563,100 for his proposal, ''An Oral DNA Vaccine Encoding Endoglin Eradicates Breast Tumors by Blocking Their Blood Supply.'' Reisfeld seeks to develop DNA vaccines that will prevent or slow breast cancer metastasis by choking off the blood supply to tumor cells, leading to their starvation and death.

  • Jiing-Dwan Lee, Ph.D., was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award of $563,100 for his proposal, ''Molecular Action of a Potential Tumor Suppressor in Mammary Carcinogenesis.'' Lee is investigating how the expression of a human tumor suppressor protein called Tid1 has the ability to suppress the growth of malignant breast cancer tumors.

  • Roberto G. Baccala, Ph.D., was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award of $563,100 for his proposal, ''Homeostatic T Cell Expansion to Induce Anti-Tumor Autoimmunity in Breast Cancer.'' Baccala is exploring how to enhance the natural ability of the immune system's T cells to attack and kill breast cancer cells specifically.

  • Floyd E. Romesberg, Ph.D.,was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award of $563,100 for his proposal, ''Inhibition of Mutation: A Novel Approach to Preventing and Treating Cancer.'' Romesberg is attempting to identify the genes in yeast and human cells that induce mutations, which can transform normal cells into cancer cells.

  • Subhash C. Sinha, Ph.D., was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Concept Award of $140,775 for his proposal, ''HerTax, A Novel HER2-Targeting mAb Construct.'' Sinha will aim to increase the efficacy and reduce the side effects of the breast cancer drug taxol by combining taxol with an antibody that targets the HER2 protein, which is abundant on the surface of 25-30 percent of breast cancer cells.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and it inflicts a heavy burden on our society. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and according to the American Cancer Society, this year 215,990 American women are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and some 40,000 are expected to die from the disease.

Since the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program was established in 1992, the program has encouraged the investigation of innovative approaches aimed at improving the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. The program has grown into the second largest funding agency for breast cancer research in the U.S. government, behind the National Cancer Institute, having awarded a total of nearly $3.4 billion to researchers at universities and institutions such as Scripps Research.

About The Scripps Research Institute

Scripps Research is dedicated to the creation of basic knowledge in the biosciences for medical application and the betterment of human health, to the pursuit of fundamental scientific advances through interdisciplinary programs and collaborations, and to the education and training of researchers from around the world preparing to meet the scientific challenges of the future.


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