Voelcker Academy

Research Symposium 2010


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Brittany Hardy

Efficiency of Combination Therapy to Treat Breast Cancer

Brittany Hardy

Mentor: Dr. Rajeshwar Tekmal

Dr. Tekmal’s research goal is to clarify how hormones and growth factors cross talk with their receptors and their interaction contributes to breast, cervical, and other gynecological cancers. This laboratory utilizes aromatase transgenic mice, as well as other animal models, for the in vivo studies. Through the use of their in vivo models, they have shown, for the first time,that an increase in mammary estrogen levels initiates several preneoplastic and neoplastic changes that resemble breast cancer in its earlier stages. The Tekmal lab is also the first lab to have shown that the enzyme aromatase is over expressed in cervical tumors. Aromatase is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of estrogens. This finding helped to assign a role for estrogens in cervical malignancies. Other ongoing research includes investigating what role the communication of local estrogen and estrogen receptor-mediated action with oncogenes, growth factors, and tumor suppressor genes play in the initiation and progression of breast cancer. The research efforts are currently involved in examining, more in depth, the role of tissue estrogen in the formation of cervical tumors. For these investigations, the laboratory is utilizing both in vivo as well as in vitro models along with human cervical tissue samples.