MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute in Mobile is one of the few organizations splitting a $1,050,000 donation by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA).

Funds being invested in the Mobile community by the BCRFA include three research projects at USA Mitchell:

  • Dr. Natalie Gassman and Dr. Michelle Schuler (2019 BCRFA Innovation Award Winners) – “Blockage of CHK1 and EGFR Signaling in Triple Negative Breast Cancer to Enhance Anti-Tumor Efficacy” This project focuses on how the lack of hormone and growth factor receptors in triple negative breast cancer makes DNA damaging chemotherapies a first-line treatment. Cardiotoxicity is a significant problem for these therapies. Dr. Gassman and Dr. Scheler will test a novel combination of chemical inhibitors that are only modestly effective on their own but have the potential in combination to trigger death in triple negative cancer cells without cardiac side effects.

  • Dr. Gabrielle Roque and Dr. Casey Daniels (receiving their second year of support for a collaborative research project between O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and USA Mitchell) – “Quantifying Breast Cancer Patient Preferences and their Association with Financial Toxicity during Treatment Decision-Making” In this project Dr. Roque and Dr. Daniels plan to quantify the trade-offs that breast cancer patients make during treatment decisions, with a focus on financial toxicity. Their central hypothesis is that increased understanding of patient preferences, particularly those associated with financial toxicity, through the evaluation of trade-offs, will optimize shared decision making (SDM). Quantification of breast cancer patient preferences will create opportunities for patient participation in decision-making, aid clinicians in understanding patient perspective during treatment decision-making, and ultimately achieve patient-centered, higher value healthcare for women living with breast cancer.

  • Dr. Gary Piazza and Dr. Clint Grubbs (Collaboration between O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and USA Mitchell) – “A Novel Wnt/β-catenin Inhibitor for Breast Cancer Therapy” This research is based on results from a two-year project funded in 2017 by the BCRFA. From this research project, they found a very promising compound named MCI-715 strongly inhibited tumorigenesis in a mouse model of breast cancer. Funds from the BCRFA will be used to evaluate the activity of MCI-715 in animal model trials for aggressive ER-breast cancer, and compare results against the current standard-of-care drug.

This donation announcement makes a total of almost $10 million donated y BCRFA since 1996. Other organizations receiving funds are the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Southern Research, and CerFlux in Birmingham.

To learn more about BCRFA, click here.

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