W. Keith Jones
Professor and Chair
Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Stritch School of Medicine
The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research Project seeks to add to our knowledge of what drives triple negative breast cancer cell growth and metastasis. Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) do not have expression of the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor, or of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
Traditional therapies target these receptors and are responsible for improved outcomes among patients with breast cancer cells expressing these receptors. In TNBC patients, the therapies are not effective. To date, targeted therapeutics for TNBC have not been identified and outcomes are much worse in women with this disease. Several groups are studying these cancers in an attempt to categorize them, to uncover the pathways that contribute to the growth, invasiveness and metastatic traits of TNBC.
Utilizing primary and metastic tumor tissues derived from a highly aggressive triple negative cancer removed from a patient without neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy administered before the primary treatment, such as mastectomy). The patient decided to harvest the tissue prior to therapy to maximize the viability of the tumor tissue and cells and increase the likelihood the cells could be cultured in the laboratory for research purposes.
Utilizing this unusual tissue resource, research from these studies will add to the knowledge needed to delineate new and potentially targeted therapies for TNBC patients and, potentially, contribute to understanding the mechanisms underlying other breast cancer types.