One of the greatest challenges in breast cancer treatment is the recognition that tumors are highly diverse. This variability between and within tumors gives rise to cancer cells that can spread from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body, a process called metastasis, which is the deadliest aspect of the disease. Based on recent research, medical oncology has focused on personalizing therapeutic approaches to the patient’s specific disease with the aim of improving outcomes. In breast cancer, this involves identifying cancer subtypes that are predicted to respond to standard of care chemotherapy as well as targeted therapies. As effective as they are, metastatic breast cancers are often refractory to these treatments from the beginning or they develop resistance to the therapy over time.
The team of Prof. Park, Dr. Pollak and Prof. Mader aims to develop a new understanding of cancer vulnerabilities integrating cutting edge technologies to a patient-centric research approach. Using this method, they have discovered two new therapeutic approaches and propose to integrate these and others to develop new strategies to target deadly treatment-resistant and metastatic breast cancers for which no treatment currently exists.