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Old 05-26-2005, 03:53 PM   #1
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Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Study at Boston Biomedical Research Institute Receives Prestigious Susan G. Komen Foundation Grant Award
Thursday May 26, 11:27 am ET

WATERTOWN, Mass., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- An innovative research study at Boston Biomedical Research Institute targeting a key protein in the uncontrolled production of breast cancer cells has received the highly prestigious Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation award. This novel approach by Boston Biomedical's Dr. Ruben Rene Gonzalez focuses on leptin, a protein which has been shown to promote both the proliferation of cancer cells and the formation of new blood vessels necessary for cancer growth, a process known as angiogenesis.
Although primarily known for its roles in obesity and reproduction, the protein leptin has recently been linked to breast cancer. "Because of leptin's active role in recruiting blood vessels for tumor growth, we theorized that blocking leptin's biological activity could be a novel approach to treating breast cancer," said Dr. Gonzalez.

To test this theory, the scientists designed non-toxic inhibitors of leptin 'signalling' -- or communication -- which they called leptin peptide antagonists, or LPAs. In their experiments, they found that the LPAs were able to block leptin-induced proliferation, adhesion and invasion of mammary cancer cells grown in tissue culture, and also in experimental mice. "Our results showed that LPAs significantly reduced the number and size of mammary tumors in these mice, and also reduced the incidence of metastasis to the liver," said Dr. Gonzalez.

This study at Boston Biomedical represents the first time that a therapeutic agent targeting leptin signaling has been tested to treat breast cancer, and the promising results did not go unnoticed by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a well-known national funder based in Dallas, Texas that is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer by advancing research, education, screening and treatment. Dr. Gonzalez also presented his findings at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research held in Anaheim, California.

"We are delighted to have this very promising step forward in the fight against breast cancer recognized by such a notable funder of cancer research," said Boston Biomedical's Director, Dr. Charles Emerson. "We are confident that these studies will lead to potent new therapeutics against this devastating disease."

-- Additional Information about Boston Biomedical Research Institute --
Boston Biomedical Research Institute is a not-for-profit institution dedicated to the understanding, treatment and prevention of specific human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and conditions such as obesity and reproductive health problems. When appropriate, the Institute collaborates in clinical studies of patients to apply the results of basic research to the cure of disease.
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