May 25, 2007

American Cancer Society honors VICC’s Arteaga

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Carlos Arteaga, M.D.

American Cancer Society honors VICC’s Arteaga

Carlos Arteaga, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Breast Cancer Program, has been named an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

The honor includes a five-year, renewable grant and membership in the elite group of American Cancer Society professors. There are 20 Research Professors and 11 Clinical Research Professors, including the three new Clinical Research Professors selected this year.

“The Clinical Research Professorship is one of the most prestigious research grants offered by the American Cancer Society, and the caliber of scientists receiving this award is unsurpassed,” said John Stevens, M.D., vice president for Extramural Grants for the Society.

The flexible grant will support Arteaga's studies of mechanisms of tumor cell resistance to therapies targeted to the HER2 (ErbB2) protein, such as the antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin) and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib (Tykerb). HER2 (ErbB2) is a tyrosine kinase receptor in the epidermal growth factor receptor family, a longtime focus for Arteaga and his colleagues.

“We will be exploring how breast cancers become resistant to this generation of targeted cancer drugs, using a comprehensive approach that spans from the laboratory bench all the way to clinical investigation,” Arteaga said. The investigators will use state-of-the-art molecular and cell biology methods, mass spectrometry and proteomic approaches, transgenic mouse models of mammary development and neoplasia, and primary tumors and cell lines from patients with breast cancer treated with these drugs.

Arteaga, also professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, credited Vanderbilt-Ingram and his colleagues in the National Cancer Institute-funded Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer with playing a key role in his success.

“I would not have been competitive without the research that has been done as part of the SPORE and the support from the Cancer Center,” Arteaga said. “The reviewers were able to see that we have all the elements in place to conduct mechanism-based translational research in breast cancer here at Vanderbilt.”

“The American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship brings recognition to Dr. Arteaga and the quality of translational research being done at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., interim director of Vanderbilt-Ingram. “Carlos is one of our most respected physician-scientists, and we are extremely pleased at this national recognition of his work.”