Meiyun Fan Receives Grant Extension for Breast Cancer Research

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Meiyun Fan, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has received a $707,988 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for an existing study on breast cancer therapy.

Meiyun Fan, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has received a $707,988 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for an existing study on breast cancer therapy. The award will be used to further her research titled, “Molecular Mechanism of ID1 function in Advanced Breast Cancer “, which was previously funded for $483,120 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In 2008, more than 200,000 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with antiestrogen therapies. Unfortunately, many breast tumors that initially respond to antiestrogens will become unresponsive over time, leading to metastasis and mortality. Through research that began in collaboration with Lawrence Pfeffer, PhD, Muirhead Professor of Pathology and director of the Center for Cancer Research at UTHSC, Dr. Fan and her team discovered that ID1, an inhibitor of certain proteins, played a role in promoting breast cancer cells to adopt an aggressive, hormone-independent characteristic. This characteristic results in antiestrogen resistance, a major obstacle in breast cancer treatment. Transcription regulators, proteins which alter gene expression, play an important role in drug resistance. Thus, identification and characterization of transcription regulators, which are altered in advanced breast cancer cells, are important for a better understanding of tumor progression and may ultimately be vital for designing targeted therapies.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients. For more information, please visit www.cancer.gov.