June 5, 2009

Two named to cancer research “Dream Team”

Two named to cancer research "Dream Team"

Carlos Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and director of the Breast Cancer Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named to one of the international cancer research “Dream Teams” funded by Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a charitable initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Carlos Arteaga, M.D.

Carlos Arteaga, M.D.

The entire team will receive a $15 million grant to support the three-year research program.

SU2C, launched with a live TV event featuring Hollywood and sports celebrities, has awarded the first round of three-year grants, totaling $73.6 million, to five international research Dream Teams. The majority of the funds were raised in connection with the telecast which aired last September on the ABC, NBC and CBS networks. The campaign is designed to accelerate the pace of research to deliver new cancer treatments to patients.

Arteaga, as well as VICC patient advocate Patricia Lee, will be a part of the Dream Team initiative entitled, “Targeting the PI3K Pathway in Women’s Cancers.” The PI3K is mutated or abnormally activated in several human neoplasias, including breast cancer.

“The goal of this Dream Team is to discover approaches that will predict patients with breast, ovarian and uterine cancer who will respond to PI3K pathway inhibitors, thereby accelerating drug approvals and ultimately providing tests for personalized cancer treatment that can be incorporated into the standard of care,” said Arteaga. “I am thrilled our Breast Cancer Research Program is part of this multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort, as it will allow us to be at the forefront and contribute to this exciting area of translational research.”

Arteaga holds the Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Breast Cancer Research and is director of the VICC Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant program funded by the National Cancer Institute. He is known internationally for his study of signaling by receptors of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and their roles in breast tumor cells.

Arteaga is one of six principal investigators named to this Dream Team, including researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain; and Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Patricia Lee, a breast cancer survivor since 1999, is one of two patient advocates named to the Dream Team to represent the patient perspective. She joined the VICC Breast SPORE in 2005 as a research advocate, serves on the Breast Cancer Tumor Board, and has been accepted as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research program.