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Excelsior riders fuel triple negative breast cancer research

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Each year, Excelsior riders who raised $20,000 or more fund one unique project approved by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for its high potential. Here’s a look at the most recent SAC grant designation. 

Fueling Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research

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Dr. Mukherjee Lab Photos November 8, 2022-27 (4)

At Roswell Park, our researchers are constantly asking the next question and working toward new discoveries. Many times, those groundbreaking findings begin with a simple question or a small data set. Major national funding for cancer research doesn’t come into play until a scientist can prove they have a solid foundation and are already well on their way to something big.

Our solution is the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Roswell Park researchers submit unique project proposals to understand something deeper about their dedicated cancer focus. Through a competitive and rigorous process, the projects with the highest potential and most established groundwork are selected for funding.

These SAC grants are made possible by the generosity of road warriors and their donors, without whom, many of these projects could not get off the ground and make their marks on cancer as we know it. For every $1 donated to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and invested into research initiatives, researchers go on to earn an additional $23 in external grant funding, further fueling their lifesaving work. In other words, after donor funding has allowed their work to flourish, they’re empowered to seek and win larger grants to make an even bigger impact and follow the thread of innovation they’re chasing.

“But the true magnitude of that impact is much greater than the $23,” said Mukund Seshadri, DDS, PhD, Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Associate Director of Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination and Chair of the Department of Oral Oncology. “It has allowed people to pursue ideas, it has allowed us to develop and move things forward. Maybe therapies that would have still been in the lab somewhere are actually now in clinical trials that we’re running at Roswell Park. An approach to mitigate toxicity in a cancer patient might not have been pursued at all if not for this funding.”

It has allowed people to pursue ideas, it has allowed us to develop and move things forward. Maybe therapies that would have still been in the lab somewhere are actually now in clinical trials that we're running at Roswell Park. An approach to mitigate toxicity in a cancer patient might not have been pursued at all if not for this funding.”

The following research initiative was specifically funded by the generosity of the 2022 Empire State Ride Excelsior riders who raised $20,000 or more and those who donated to their fundraising efforts.

Immuno-Metabolic Regulation in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Subhamoy Dasgupta, PhD, and Scott Abrams, PhD

Breast cancer detection and treatment continues to improve, but in too many cases for patients with triple negative breast cancer, the cancer returns in an aggressive, metastatic form where therapeutic options are severely limited. The cancer cells in these situations have developed strategies to adapt and evade the immune system, enabling them to become more aggressive.

One way the cancer grows is by increasing a specific metabolic enzyme that can act as a driver of this variant. When there is more of this enzyme, there is poorer survival. In contrast, metastasis to the lungs and lymph nodes are significantly less when the enzyme is reduced.

Drs. Dasgupta and Abrams, along with their team, hope to uncover the intricacies of how this enzyme drives the growth of triple negative breast cancer by suppressing immunity so we can ultimately learn how to stop it with new therapeutic combinations.