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BCRFA invests $1.25M into Alabama breast cancer research projects

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has made a major investment into 35 breast cancer research projects across the state. The organization said, in 2023 alone, it dispensed grants worth a cumulative total of $1.25 million to institutions sponsoring the research.

Dr. Barry P. Sleckman, Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, expressed profound appreciation for their assistance in studying the disease that impacts millions of Americans.

“The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has been a remarkable force in bolstering cancer research within our state,” said Sleckman. “Their funding will propel the work of UAB investigators and their counterparts across the state and we are profoundly grateful for their unwavering support.”

This year’s grant awards increase the BCRFA’s lifetime investment total to over $15 million since 1996.

The institutions that were awarded funding, the researchers involved, and their projects include:

Alabama State University (Montgomery, AL)

  • Dr. Priyadarshni Nivedita: Design and develop an affordable point-  of-care device for non- invasive, early diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) from saliva using aLCN-1 functionalized carbon dot (aLCN-1@CD) biosensor

Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

  • Dr. Alexei Kisselev: Highly active liposomal formulation of proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib for the treatment of TNBC
  • Dr. Amit Mitra: A novel strategy to prevent the development of drug resistance in breast cancer Auburn University (Auburn, AL) / University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
  • Drs. Yuping Bao and Robert Arnold: Carrier-free quercetin nanoparticles for overcoming breast cancer drug resistance

CerFlux, Inc. (Birmingham, AL)

  • Dr. Karim Budhwani: Getting the right treatment to the right patient by matching regimens to patient biopsy before treatment

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (Huntsville, AL)

  • Dr. Sara Cooper: Inherited breast cancer risk screening and education – Access Matters

Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, AL)

  • Dr. Deepa Bedi: Cancer genomic study to characterize genetic and epigenetic diversity of immune landscape in triple negative breast cancer in women of African ethnicity

University of Alabama at Birmingham O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center (Birmingham, AL)

  • Dr. Ritu Aneja: Evaluating associations of rurality and neighborhood disadvantage with racial disparities in breast cancer mortality among women in the state of Alabama
  • Dr. Sofia Beas: Neuropathological effects of chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Dr. Smita Bhatia: Predicting the risk of heart failure in breast cancer survivors
  • Dr. Nicole Caston: Understanding how multi-level factors influence cancer clinical trial enrollment decisions by patients living in higher disadvantaged areas
  • Dr. Anindya Dutta: FAM129B/NIBAN2 as a biomarker for therapy with NRF2 inhibitors
  • Dr. Blake Hildreth: Targeting CSF1R/PU.1 signaling and PU.1 superenhancer regulation in tumor progression across breast cancer subtypes
  • Dr. Katia Khoury: Phase II single arm trial of low dose capecitabine in patients with advanced breast cancer
  • Dr. Jianmei Leavenworth: Hijacking axonogenesis to promote breast cancer by a subset of regulatory T cells
  • Dr. Steve Lim: Nuclear FAK-mediated epigenetic reprogramming of triple negative breast cancer
  • Dr. Catherine Parker: Research conducted by Breast Surgical Fellow
  • Dr. Amr Rafat: Elucidating the effects of hypoxia on ribosome biogenesis in breast cancer
  • Dr. Bin Ren: Unique arteriolar niche in expansion of breast cancer stem cells for metastasis
  • Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant: A novel clinically actionable approach to disable resurgence and metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer
  • Drs. Keshav Singh and Sejong Bae: Mitochondrial trafficking in triple negative breast cancer
  • Dr. Anna Sorace: PDL1-targeted theranostic approaches to enhance combination therapy in TNBC
  • Dr. Sooryanarayana Varambally: MammOnc-DB: Development of a comprehensive breast cancer platform for data analysis, integration and visualization
  • Dr. Courtney Williams: Identifying ideal reimbursement “dose” to reduce clinical trial-related financial toxicity
  • Dr. Jia Xu: Developing novel AKT degrader to selectively inhibit the growth of PI3K/AKT/PTEN pathway mutant breast cancer
  • Dr. Chao Zhang: Chronic stress-regulated tumor-neuroimmune network in triple-negative breast cancer

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

  • Dr. Shreyas Rao: Engineered environments to probe immune cell-mediated reawakening of dormant breast cancer brain micrometastasis

University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute (Mobile, AL)

  • Dr. Debanjan Chakroborty: WNK1, A Novel Regulator of Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Dr. Santanu Dasgupta: Circulating mitochondrial DNA for the detection of breast cancer progression and recurrence
  • Dr. Luis del Pozo-Yauner: Contribution of PERK+ polyploid giant cancer cells in the ethnic disparity of
    triple negative breast cancer
  • Dr. Simon Grelet: Targeting the nerve-cancer crosstalk to prevent breast cancer metastasis
  • Dr. Chandrani Sarkar: Adipocyte and lymphatic endothelial cell crosstalk in breast cancer
  • Dr. Ajay Singh: Unfolding a novel mechanism for endocrine resistance in breast cancer
  • Dr. Seema Singh: Influence of stress on immune landscape and spatial heterogeneity of breast cancer

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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