Researcher receives grant to study aggressive form of breast cancer

June 22, 2016 | by Michael Easterling

Victoria Seewaldt, M.D., the Ruth Ziegler professor and chair in the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope, has received a two-year grant of $80,000 from the Prevent Cancer Foundation to support her research in early detection and triple-negative breast cancer, a highly aggressive form of cancer.
 
"When a woman has a normal mammogram or biopsy and despite these 'normal' tests goes on to get an aggressive form of breast cancer, I feel that I have betrayed my patient," said Seewaldt. "Part of the problem is that we know very little about how aggressive breast cancers start and the majority of breast biopsies are evaluated by appearance and not by biology.

The research the Prevent Cancer Foundation is funding will provide evidence that while appearance is certainly important, biology may be even more so. We will be testing whether some breast biopsies that look normal have aggressive biology, and if left unchecked, can promote rapid progression to triple-negative breast cancers."
 
Triple-negative breast cancer refers to any breast cancer that does not respond to estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR) or Her2/neu, a protein and biomarker in breast cancer development and progression.
 
Seewaldt's research was inspired by her experience early in her career at Stanford University working with Henry Kaplan, M.D., considered a pioneer in transforming Hodgkin's Disease from a hopeless form of cancer to one of the most curable.
 
"Dr. Kaplan believed that research could make a difference for cancer, and he was right,” she says. "I want to do the same for aggressive forms of breast cancer. It's why I became a physician, a researcher, and now a professor leading this team."
 
The Prevent Cancer Foundation is one of the nation's leading voluntary health organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has provided $142 million in support of cancer prevention and early detection research, education, outreach and advocacy across the country.
 

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