Developmental and Cell Biology and Biological Chemistry
University of California
Seeking to understand how non-cancer cells contribute to the development and progression of BRCA breast cancers.
Laboratory studies are conducted to identify and characterize the early events in BRCA-induced breast cancer and develop targeted prevention strategies.
These novel studies that will provide new insight in the prevention of BRCA cancers.
BRCA1 is involved in many cellular activities including DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and gene regulation, largely by forming different protein complexes. Understanding fundamental facts about BRCA1 functions has led to new therapies for BRCA-related breast cancer as well as possible cancer prevention.
Recent studies indicate that BRCA1-deficient breast tumor cells harbor alterations in energy metabolism, as do other cell types in the tumor environment of BRCA1-deficient tumors. These changes generate a specific microenvironment that promotes cancer growth.
In the upcoming year, Dr. Lee will study how other cell types in the breast tissues from BRCA1 carriers influence breast epithelial properties. The group will use a well-characterized laboratory model to provide more detailed information and to test potential cancer prevention approaches.
These studies could identify new targets for prevention of BRCA1-driven breast and ovarian cancers.
Eva YHP Lee is the Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.
In the late 1980’s, Dr. Lee reported the inactivation of the prototypic tumor suppressor gene, the retinoblastoma susceptibility gene (RB), in breast cancer. Subsequently, she and her team investigate how cells repair DNA breaks and identified new players that slow down the cell cycle while DNA damages are being repaired.
Her laboratory has established several breast cancer models to address the breast-specific function of the breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA1. They found that BRCA1 plays a role regulating the levels of progesterone receptors (PR). Her team has investigated the mechanisms involved and addressed whether anti-progesterone could be used to delay mammary tumors using the model systems. In addition, Dr. Lee and her team are exploring the link between the circadian system, BRCA1 and the regulation of female hormones.