University of Helsinki-led breast cancer research project receives US Department of Defense grant


The research project led by the University of Helsinki, in partnership with the University of California at San Francisco, received a groundbreaking grant from the Breast Cancer Research Program of the US Department of Defense.

The research project led by the University of Helsinki will advance research aimed at bringing new therapies based on the laboratory’s MYC to the aid of patients with metastatic breast cancer. The grant helps advance breast cancer research, but it also encourages collaboration between European and California cancer patient organizations.

Certain cancer genes that help cancer grow also create weak spots in cancer cells, which can be exploited with new drugs. In breast cancer, the MYC cancer gene reprograms cells to grow continuously, but the uncontrolled growth also makes cancer cells carrying MYC prey to many different types of drugs.

Researchers are improving their search for drugs to target such vulnerabilities created by specific cancer genes, and we hope to generate next-generation anticancer drugs that would only kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. Even further, we hope that these new drugs would also stimulate the body’s immunity to fight cancer. “

Juha Klefström, Ph.D., study manager, FICAN research professor, University of Helsinki

“Our joint groups at the University of Helsinki and UCSF have found that the MYC oncogene is associated with poor outcomes in breast cancer patients and resistance to immunotherapies. will discover improved treatments that seek to selectively kill high MYC tumor cells and improve response to immune treatments. We anticipate that these studies will lead to new clinical trials to treat patients with these particularly aggressive MYC breast cancers and difficult to treat, ”says study co-lead Professor Andrei Goga, MD, Ph.D of the University of California, San Francisco.

The project will be implemented in close collaboration with patient advocacy groups in the United States and Finland, exploring new ways to communicate science to patients and the public.

“It is great that this important topic is being studied and that new treatments are sought for this deadly disease. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women of working age,” says Anu Niemi, Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Association. Europa Donna Finland.

This unique project brings together dedicated teams of researchers, clinicians and advocates, aiming to elucidate a mechanistic role of MYC in the regulation of the anti-tumor immune response and to propose new therapeutic approaches for aggressive breast cancers.

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