Now two months in 2014, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) continues to ramp up funding activities. Today, CPRIT has announced that a Texas Tech chemist is the latest recipient of major grant money in order to fund his studies into how breast cancer moves into the brain.
Dr. Yehia Mechref, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the university, is the first researcher from Texas Tech to receive a grant from CPRIT’s Individual Investigator Program. The grant, worth $1.2 million in fresh funding, is a major study into how breast cancer metastasizes and reaches the brain. The outcome of the research could give researchers the ability to detect breast cancer cells early, before they have a chance to reach and infect the brain.
Specifically, the research fill focus on how breast cancer cells’ sugar signatures enable them to move past the blood-brain barrier, thus leading them to metastasize.
Dr. Mechref explained that, “It’s like they have a matching key to another compound that allows the cancer cells to come through,” adding, “This is our hypothesis. Our preliminary data suggests there is truth to this fact.”
As Texas continues to gain in reputation for the advancement of next-generation cancer research and drug development, CPRIT continues to seek out cancer researchers like Dr. Mechref, whose research focus into glycomics and glycoproteomics continue to yield dynamic insights into better understanding the biological attributes of glycosylation, immune response, cell development, cellular differentiation/adhesion, and host-pathogen interactions as it pertains to the detection and treatment of cancer and other deadly diseases.