Grants - Translational Grants - Pennsylvania - 2016

Lewis Chodosh, M.D., Ph.D.

Despite improvements in treatment, breast cancers recur in some patients years after their initial treatment. Recurrent cancers arise from the small number of cancer cells that survive standard treatments, and ultimately resume growth. We have developed a way to find these cancer cells in mice and in patients, have identified how these cancer cells survive, and have found drugs that can kill them. In particular, we have found that treating mice with drugs that block a protein called “c-MET” can kill residual cancer cells and thereby prevent breast cancers from recurring.
Our goal is to now to determine whether we can use this approach in patients. To accomplish this, we will first study when c-MET gets “turned on” in cancer cells that survive treatment in patients. Second, we will treat mice bearing cancer cells with the anti-c-MET drug to determine if it will kill these cells and thereby prevent breast cancers from coming back. Third, based on these findings we will plan a clinical trial for women with breast cancer that will be able to determine whether anti-c-MET drugs can kill residual cancer cells and, ultimately, whether it can reduce recurrence and increase the likelihood of cure.