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Marc E. Lippman, MD
Professor of Oncology and Medicine
Georgetown University Medical Center
Goal: To understand how communication between breast cancer cells and non-cancer cells contributes to tumor progression and metastasis.
Impact: Dr. Lippman is studying interactions between breast cancer cells and non-cancer cells of the tumor microenvironment that promote breast cancer metastasis. His team has identified the RAGE signaling pathway as a key target in this cell-to-cell communication. His findings could lead to the development of new treatment strategies that will improve survival for breast cancer patients.
What’s next: He and his team will continue studying how RAGE signaling contributes to breast cancer progression and evaluate the efficacy of RAGE inhibitors combined with other therapy.
The majority of deaths related to breast cancer are caused by breast cancer metastasis, making it imperative to identify better means of combating or preventing this from occurring. Studies have shown that interactions between tumor cells and non-tumor cells nearby can promote tumor growth and spread. Dr. Lippman is studying two important factors in mediating his process—work that may ultimately improve response to chemotherapy and prevent metastasis.
Full Research Summary
Research goal: Improving response to chemotherapy and preventing metastasis.
Impact: While there have been many exciting developments in the treatment of localized breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer (MBC), which occurs when breast cancer spreads to other sites in the body, remains an overwhelmingly lethal disease. Dr. Lippman is studying interactions between breast cancer cells and non-cancer cells of the tumor microenvironment that are involved in breast cancer metastasis. His findings may ultimately lead to the development of novel treatment strategies that will improve survival for breast cancer patients.
Current investigation: Dr. Lippman and his colleagues are focused on the RAGE signaling pathway—which is critical for breast cancer metastasis. In his current investigation, he is studying how RAGE affects a cancer-promoting cell type called cancer-associated fibroblast (CAFs) found around the tumor. The team has discovered that CAFs “educate” breast cancer cells to permanently exhibit more aggressive and metastatic behavior.
What he’s learned so far: He and his team have uncovered how CAFs directly contribute to breast cancer progression and metastasis and identified a number of pathways that are responsible for this phenomenon, including the RAGE signaling pathway and the SDF1 pathway. Over the past year, they have assessed the efficacy of a number of novel RAGE inhibitors that disrupt communication between breast cancer cells and other cells in the tumor microenvironment and slow breast cancer progression.
What’s next: Dr. Lippman will continue investigations into how RAGE signaling coordinates crosstalk between CAFs and breast cancer cells facilitating breast cancer progression and metastasis. He and his team will also evaluate novel RAGE inhibitors in combination with other therapies, such as anti-estrogen and chemotherapy.
Marc E. Lippman, MD, MACP FRCP is a professor of Oncology and co-directs the breast cancer program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. Prior to that he was the Kathleen and Stanley Glaser Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Leonard School of Medicine, and was Chairman of the Department of Medicine from May 2007 to May 2012 and Deputy Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously Dr. Lippman was the John G. Searle Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. From 1988 through 1999 he was Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Chair, Department of Oncology, at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and served as Director of the Lombardi Cancer Center. Dr. Lippman served as Head of the Medical Breast Cancer Section, Medicine Branch, at the NIH. He completed a Fellowship in Endocrinology at Yale Medical School from 1973-1974. He was Clinical Associate at the NCI from 1970-1971 and Clinical Associate at the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the NCI. From 1970-1988 he served as an Officer and Medical Director of the United States Public Health Service. Dr. Lippman completed his residency on the Osler Medical Service, John Hopkins University Hospital from 1968-1970. He has received numerous awards including Clinical Investigator Award, American Federation for Clinical Research in 1985; Transatlantic Medal and Lecture, British Endocrine Societies, 1989; the Astwood Award, Endocrine Society, 1991; the Bernard Fisher Award, University of Pittsburgh in 1991; the AACR Rosenthal Award in April 1994, and the Brinker Award for Basic Science of the Komen Foundation in 1994.