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Hanna Irie, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Oncological Sciences
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York
- Seeking to improve outcomes in patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
- Laboratory studies are ongoing to confirm a potential therapeutic target to prevent the growth of TNBC and improve response to chemotherapies.
- These studies could lead to novel combination approaches for the treatment prevention of metastasis in patients with triple negative breast cancer.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of the disease with a high rate of metastasis. There are currently no targeted therapies for TNBC and resistance to chemotherapy is common. Drs. Irie and Port are looking for ways to improve response to therapies in TNBC as well as identifying new targets for drug development. They have identified a gene that not only controls the growth of TNBC cells but also suppresses the anti-tumor immune response. Experiments are ongoing to target this gene in laboratory models of TNBC.
Full Research Summary
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) remains a clinical challenge due to a lack of targeted therapies and widely disparate responses to standard chemotherapy. Effective personalized treatments for patients with TNBC require novel therapeutic targets and combination approaches.
Drs. Irie and Port recently identified a gene called PRKCQ that not only regulates the growth and invasiveness of TNBC cells but could also impact immune cells that infiltrate the tumor, protect cells from chemotherapy treatment, and promote metastasis (spreading of cancer to other places in the body). Inhibition of PRKCQ enhances the effects of chemotherapy treatment and induces death of TNBC cells.
In the coming year, they will use novel patient-relevant laboratory models of treatment-resistant TNBC to determine the efficacy of pharmacological inhibitors that target these novel genes. They will carefully examine the role of PRKCQ both in the cancer, as well as in the immune environment surrounding the tumor.
These studies could support PRKCQ inhibition as a "double-hit" strategy to prevent TNBC growth and metastases.
Dr. Irie is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Oncological Sciences at the Tisch Cancer Institute and Dubin Breast Center of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She received her MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a clinical fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As a medical oncologist, she specializes in the treatment of patients with breast cancer, with a special focus on improving care for patients with triple negative cancers for whom current treatment options are limited. In addition to patient care, she directs a lab-based translational breast cancer research program. The challenges faced by many of her patients drive the focus of the program's research. Her laboratory focuses on identifying novel therapeutic targets for breast cancer, particularly for treatment-resistant breast cancers, and understanding the mechanisms by which these candidate genes regulate breast tumor cell behavior. They are also developing models that more accurately mirror treatment-resistant triple negative cancers so that they can be used to validate more effective treatment strategies and support clinical studies.