Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Genomic Medicine Institute, received a one-year, $240K continuation grant from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for "Genes that Affect Mitochondrial Function as Novel Mediators of Breast Cancer Susceptibility."
Genetic predisposition drastically increases the likelihood of an individual developing breast cancer. In fact, alterations in three specific genes—PTEN, SDHx and KLLN—can confer up to an 85 percent lifetime risk. Dr. Eng aims to uncover how these mutations influence cancer development and how their negative effects could be reversed without the need for toxic interventions. Her group has already found that SDHx mutations lead to an accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cells and make them resistant to apoptosis—our bodies' natural method of weeding out unhealthy, or cancerous, cells. They also discovered that the antioxidant vitamin E could decrease the cellular damage caused by ROS accumulation. Continued studies could lead to advances in early breast and thyroid cancer screening and prevention.
George Muschler, MD , Biomedical Engineering, received a one-year, $140K research grant from Harvest Technologies for “Evaluation of SmartPReP 2 BMAC™ system as a method for the concentration of connective tissue progenitor cells.”
Despite recent advances in the availability of bone graft materials, treatment of large and chronic bone defects remains clinically challenging. It has been reported, however, that bone graft performance and bone regeneration can be enhanced with the concentration of bone marrow stem cell precursors, called osteogenic connective tissue progenitor cells (CTP-Os). Dr. Muschler will evaluate the efficacy of Harvest Technologies’ SmartPReP 2 BMAC™ System, a new device for concentrating CTP-Os. If the technology is successful, it could lead to clinical improvement for patients suffering from bone defects associated with major trauma or musculoskeletal tumors.