Issue No. 2
People In the News and Research In the News
People in the News
Sara Sukumar , Ph.D., co-director of the Breast
Cancer Program and the Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor of Oncology, received a $50,000 award designed to encourage rapid translation of her basic research on biomarkers into a commercially available test that could predict the best treatment for some women with breast cancer. Sukumar was one of two winners of the BioMaryland LIFE Prizes, funded by the Maryland Biotechnology Center, that recognizes research advances they believe are likely to become successful products.
William Houck, M.D., has joined the faculty as an adjunct professor in the Breast Cancer Program. He is providing a second opinion service for patients.
Research in the News
Doctors at Johns Hopkins have shown that during an increasingly popular type of breastreconstruction
surgery, they can safely preserve the internal mammary artery, in case it is needed for future cardiac surgery. “Some breast-reconstruction patients might need a cardiac bypass in the future, so we
implemented and studied a new technique that spares this artery used for that purpose,” says Gedge Rosson, M.D., Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and lead researcher on the study.
The spread of breast cancer is responsible for more than 90 percent of breast cancer deaths. Now, the process by which it spreads – metastasizes – has been unraveled by researchers at Johns Hopkins, who discovered the switch that enables breast cancer cells to travel to and be received in the lungs.
“Metastasis was long thought a late event in cancer progression, but we have now shown metastasis to be an early event that is dependent on HIF-1,” says Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vascular Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering.
A team of johns hopkins scientists has closely tied production of a cancer-causing protein called TWIST to the development of estrogen resistance in women with breast cancer. Such resistance – in which cancers go from estrogen positive to estrogen negative status – can sabotage anticancer drugs that work to block estrogen and prevent disease recurrence after surgery. “Now that we know TWIST has a major role in controlling estrogen resistance in breast cancer, we can investigate the value of anti- TWIST therapies,” says Venu Raman, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiology and senior study investigator.