Metastatic Breast Cancer

In 2020, it was estimated that more than 168,000 women in the US were living with metastatic breast cancer, which occurs when cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body such as the brain, lungs, etc. To combat this, San Diego BioMed scientist, Dr. Celine DerMardirossian and her group are deciphering how cancer cells know when to move and what can be done to stop them.

When cancer cells move, it is due to outgrowths called filopodia that look and often act like the legs of a cancer cell. The DerMardirossian lab studied how a cell decides when to grow filopodia and when to reabsorb them. They learned that there are groups of molecules inside cancer cells that sometimes stick to one another in a precise and methodical way, providing clear instructions on how to grow filopodia. In response to this, the group began to use a process called high-throughput screening to test thousands of molecules to see if any could block the interaction between filopodia-inducing molecules inside cancer cells.

This approach is one of many being utilized by San Diego BioMed scientists to design new treatments with the goal to stop the development of metastatic cancer.

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Our research programs are funded primarily by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Private donations help to accelerate the progress of research through the purchase of laboratory supplies and equipment or the recruitment of additional laboratory personnel. Thank you!

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