The Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) program, has selected Dr. Matthew Ellis, the director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine, to receive this year’s Laura Ziskin Prize in Translational Cancer Research. Dr. Ellis will be utilizing the two-year grant worth $250,000 to further his work on defective DNA repair mechanisms in breast cancer together with Dr. Charles Swanton at the Institute for Cancer Research in London.
“Right now the focus is on abnormalities associated with loss of the BRCA gene,” said Dr. Ellis. “There are clearly many different forms of defective DNA repair that are in play, particularly in ER-positive breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer that we hope to better understand and identify. We hope this knowledge could be the basis for new treatments.”
This grant will also go to a pair of post doctoral researchers, Dr. Svasti Haricharan and Dr. Nnenna Kanu, who will be working on the joint project with Dr. Ellis and Dr. Swanton, respectively.
SU2C is dedicated to raising and awarding funding to innovative translational cancer research that have the potential to give more patients access to improved treatments and diagnostics sooner. The Laura Ziskin prize honors the late critically acclaimed Hollywood producer and SU2C co-founder who battled breast cancer until her passing in 2011.
In an earlier report on breast cancer, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) have recently released study findings suggesting that the DAPK1 (death-associated protein kinase 1) protein is crucial for tumor growth in breast and other cancers with mutations in the TP53 gene and that it may be an efficacious therapeutic target for many of the most aggressive cancers. The study, entitled, “Death-associated protein kinase 1 promotes growth of p53-mutant cancers,” was published in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.