October 31, 2022 — The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) has renewed its funding to Elisa Port, MD, and Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, to study new therapeutic approaches that target aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.
The latest installment of $225,000 brings the total to almost $2 million over the past nine years. It will fund research into the immune microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer in order to identify new strategies to enhance cancer-fighting immune responses for this aggressive breast cancer, which traditionally has few options for treatment.
“We are delighted and grateful to receive this grant from the Foundation, which recognizes the expertise and the commitment of both the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Dubin Breast Center with regard to developing novel therapeutics for a diverse group of patients with high-risk breast cancers,” said Dr. Port, Chief of Breast Surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System and Director of the Dubin Breast Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai.
“This funding also recognizes our innovative efforts to advance the field’s understanding of this disease, such as our Breast Cancer Biorepository, an impressive bank of patient breast tumor tissue and blood samples that is enabling us to make research breakthroughs,” Dr. Port said. “This grant, combined with our extensive resources and knowledge, provides us with invaluable support to identify treatments that could have significant benefits for our patients, and for millions of women worldwide.”
Typically diagnosed among women under the age of 50, triple-negative breast cancer is a subtype of breast cancer that has an estimated prevalence between 10-15 percent of all breast cancer cases. It can be particularly challenging to treat, in part because it is aggressive and thus has a higher risk of relapse, but also because the options available for treatment are limited. Although immunotherapy is increasingly used in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, not all patients respond to or benefit from this approach. Thus, more research is required among patients to understand how their immune system interacts with breast cancer cells and how it works to control cancer growth and spread both within the tumor itself and in other parts of the body.
“Our BCRF-funded studies will explore those interactions between breast cancer cells and the immune system, specifically focusing on cancer stem cells,” said Dr. Irie, Associate Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology), and Oncological Sciences, at the Dubin Breast Center. “Breast cancer stem cells are less likely to be eliminated by chemotherapy or immunotherapy, and our goal is to develop strategies that simultaneously kill triple-negative breast cancer stem cells and enhance anti-tumor immune responses. We have identified several promising candidate drugs that induce these effects in preclinical models of triple-negative breast cancer, and we are working to clinically translate them so that we can achieve improved results for our patients.”
Founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder, BCRF is the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. By investing in the best minds in science—those investigating prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and metastasis—and fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration, BCRF is accelerating the field to find the answers that are urgently needed to achieve the end of breast cancer.
For more information: https://www.bcrf.org/