With the help of a grant of more than $400,000, Dr. Maria Ruiz-Echevarria is looking at ways a protein could help the prognosis, treatment and/or, detection of prostate cancer. Ruiz-Echevarria, a scientist and assistant professor of hematology/oncology, received the three-year, $423,803 grant from the National Institutes of Health in December. The funds will help her and her team determine the role of the TMEFF2 protein in prostate-specific tumor development. TMEFF2 is a protein involved in prostate cancer.
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A potential treatment for many ovarian, breast, cervical and other cancers has entered clinical testing.
The treatment, a collaboration between ImmunoGen and Sanofi-aventis, uses an antibody created by Dr. Anne Kellogg, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Brody School of Medicine.
The antibody seeks out and attaches to cancer cells and serves as a delivery vehicle for ImmunoGen’s Targeted Antibody Payload technology to attack the cancer cells with a potent cell-killing agent. Once inside, the cell-killing agent activates and kills the tumor cell as it divides. The technology allows the use of precise amounts of powerful cancer-killing drugs while minimizing side effects.
Kellogg said she was happy the drug has made it this far.
“You always hope some of the work you do in your research lab will have some positive benefit for people,” Kellogg said. “There’s still a lot of years in terms of testing in patients.”