Grants - Indiana - Designated Grants - 2017

Chun Ju Chang, Ph.D.

V Scholar Plus Award – extended funding for exceptional V Scholars

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and in the year of 2017, breast cancer has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 women and men in the United States. Although initial remission can be achieved with chemo-treatments, the worry and fear of treatment resistance, recurrence, and death still have a deep impact on many breast cancer patients. It is recognized that cancer stem cells (CSCs), a long-lived, self-perpetuating cell population that can infinitely give rise to the bulk of a tumor as the “seed” of the cancer, account for cancer initiation, progression, radio-/chemo-resistance, and recurrence. To date, treatment strategies designed to eliminate the genesis of the cancer (CSC) still remain a significant challenge. 

This project aims to develop effective therapeutic strategies that direct CSCs to a differentiated cell (non-stem cell) fate with restoration of endocrine response, allowing breast tumors to become terminally dormant and sensitive towards conventional hormonal therapy. The applications generated from our research will contribute to overcoming the therapeutic hurdles of aggressive cancers and significantly benefit the cancer patient and the survivor community for decades.