Research is Making a Difference

A new gene alteration found in research for inflammatory breast cancer.

This week we were able to fund $50,000 to Vanderbilt University for triple negative inflammatory breast cancer research. The IBC Network has an ongoing relationship with Vanderbilt for research by Dr. Justin Balko’s lab and this week they shared some exciting news with us:

“Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare subtype of breast cancer with a poor prognosis and unique clinical presentation. One of the defining features of IBC is its ability to form tumor cell ‘clusters’ that then metastasize to the lymphatic system of the skin in the breast. Despite this frequently seen feature in IBC, which many believe to be associated with its highly metastatic nature, no common genetic mutations have been found specifically in IBC. If such a genetic mutation could be identified, it would greatly accelerate our ability to specifically target the features of IBC that make it so lethal.

Since most breast cancers consist of very diverse types of tumor cells with different mutations, we have sought to specifically capture the metastatic tumor cells in the lymphatic system. We are using a new technology to do this – called ‘meso-dissection’ – and we then use new methods of genetic sequencing to discover any alterations in the cancer cell’s genes. Our work has uncovered a new gene alteration – a mutation that has never before been seen in breast cancer – that we believe may give IBC its unique presentation.

In addition to expanding our understanding of skin metastases, our project goals also include testing whether this new genetic alteration causes inflammatory breast cancer features in mouse models. If this aspect of the project is successful, it will catapult our understanding of IBC to a new level and generate a new model that will allow us to test therapies and further study the disease. The support of IBC Network Foundation has been invaluable in making this research possible.”

Your donation matters and allows much needed research to be done.  #ResearchMatters