Grants - V Scholar Grants - New York - 2018

Paz Polak, Ph.D.

Vintner Grant funded by the 2018 V Foundation Wine Celebration in honor of Gina Gallo

One of the deadliest cancers is called Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Women with TNBC are more likely to die of breast cancer than women with other types of breast cancer. This type of cancer is more common in African American women.

Treatments for TNBC exist, but we do not know if they are equally effective for all women with TNBC. One reason the outcome might be poorer for African American women is because the standard treatments might be less effective for them. Treatments for TNBC work better when a woman has a certain mutation in gene called BRCA1 and related genes known as RAD51 genes. Unfortunately, this treatment may not work if the gene has been turned off by a mechanism called methylation. This process of methylation is much more common in African American women. In this proposal, we want to find out how frequent methylation of BRCA1 and RAD51 genes occurs in Caribbean populations and then compare the response to TNBC treatment for African American, Caribbean American and European American populations. We hope to find how frequently BRCA1 gene is turned off in breast cancer patients of Caribbean origins and then use this knowledge to assist in the choice of targeted therapy for these patient populations.